Whether we like it or not, dreams and nightmares are a part of our sleep. When you dream, you enter an unexplored realm of fantasies, bizarre plots, or a distant reality you want to escape. Dreams and nightmares often make no sense and leave you confused after you wake up.
As well as our imagination, dreams are infinite, allowing artists such as artists and filmmakers to paint their own tales as real or wild as they desire them to be. From Alice in Wonderland to Inception and 8, these films highlight the strange things we all experience.
Christopher Nolan directs and writes the film Inception. A thief who infiltrates peoples subconscious and steals their dreams to use them against them, an admirable Japanese businessman offers him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have his criminal history completely erased if he can implant a persons idea into another's subconscious. Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) serves as Cobb's partner and assists in their missions.
When asked how Nolan came up with the idea for the film, he wanted to think about people sharing a dream space that allows you to access someones unconscious mind. What would it be used for, and abused for? The film's final scene is perhaps one of the most talked-about and debated of all time: the spinning of the spinning top; are they still in a dream?
Source Code follows a U.S. Army Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) who wakes up on a moving Metra (commuter train). When he sees a reflection of himself in the train's windows and mirrors, however, he appears to be a school teacher named Sean Fentress. Soon after, the train explodes, killing all of those aboard.
Colleen Goodwin, an Air Force Captain, informs Stevens of his mission to track down the train bomber and stop the explosion before he is sent back to the moment he wakes up on the train. The Source Code is an experimental program that recreates past events using, in this case, the memories of train dead passengers.
Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland is a 1951 animated film about Alice (Kathryn Beaumont) who spots a White Rabbit and chases it down a rabbit hole, encountering an odd assortment of characters such as the Cheshire Cat (Sterling Holloway), the Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn) and the Queen of Hearts (Verna Felton).
When Alice ends her career in court due to the Chesire Cat's tricks, things start to get stale, and she must flee the place and return to the small door where she first entered Wonderland. She opens the keyhole and realizes it was all a dream.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 horror film that centers around a disfigured man who uses their bladed gloves to murder young people who have sex activities in their dreams. Later, it is revealed that the mysterious man is named Fred Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).
A Nightmare on Elm Street has evolved into a six-part series, a television series, and a crossover with Friday the 13th. The film is well-known for its ability to play with audience perceptions and to break the boundaries of what is imaginary and real.
8 is a 1963 surrealist comedy-drama film directed and co-written by Federico Fellini. The film centers on Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni), a well-known film director who is struggling with a director's block when attempting to direct his next science fiction film. Anselmi begins to have recurring visions of an Ideal Woman (Claudia Cardinale), who he believes is crucial to his future film's story.
Anselmi wanders between fantasy and reality while trying to find his narrative. He masters a harem of women, but they eventually turn on him and tell him the ugly truths about himself and his sex life. All of this is aided by striking visuals and cinematography.
Mulholland Drive, a surrealist neo-noir mystery film directed by David Lynch, is set on an unfamiliar road in the Hollywood Hills. Betty is surprised when a strange woman appears in her apartment. The woman (the survivor of the car crash), is called Rita (Laura Elena Harring) after seeing a poster for the film Gilda, starring actress Rita Hayworth.
Betty looks through her purse, discovering a large sum of money and a strange blue key, assisting Rita in resolving the mystery of Rita's true identity. Mulholland Drive has always been open to interpretation because Lynch refuses to state the meaning and symbolism of the film.
Waking Life is a Richard Linklater experimental animated film that follows an unnamed youngster who wonders his existence and experiences an existential crisis. The protagonist participates in philosophical discussions with other characters on topics such as metaphysics, social philosophy, and the meaning of life. Later, he realizes he is living in a perpetual dream (lucid dreaming) and experiences false awakenings.
Linklater explained in a 2001 interview that the idea came to him before he became interested in film, probably 20 years ago, and that in order to make a realistic film about an unreality, the film had to be a realistic unreality. Wiggins, Ethan Hawke, and Linklater are all immediately recognizable as animated versions of themselves.
Dead of Night
When architect Walter Craig visits a country cottage in Kent, he gets a strange feeling that the place and the people there appear to be somewhat familiar. Without any knowledge of the people there, Craig can somehow predict the events that would take place in the house. The guests begin to reveal strange tales they have previously told about.
The black and white anthology horror film is divided into different sections based on the stories told by the guests Craig met in the house: The Hearse Driver, The Christmas Party, The Haunted Mirror, The Golfers Story, The Ventriloquists Dummy, and the overarching story at the cottage itself.
Take Shelter is a psychological thriller that follows the life of a young husband and father, Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon), who is unsure whether to protect his family from a severe storm or himself due to an increased belief that he has paranoid schizophrenia. The situation gradually deteriorates his relationships with his family, friends, and even his employer as he constructs his shelter.
The conclusion was deliberately left ambiguous for viewers because, according to filmmaker Jeff Nichols, the whole thing was a dream or a reality. All that matters is that Curtis and his wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain) ended the film on the same page.
Last Night in Soho
Last Night in Soho is a story about a fashion student who dreams of becoming a fashion designer and is particularly attracted to the Swinging Sixties. When Ellie moves to a rural house owned by Ms. Collins (Diana Rigg), she begins having vivid dreams which take her back to the 1960s. At a nightclub called Cafe de Paris in London, Ellie meets Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy).
Ellie dyes her hair blonde (when she is back in reality) and dresses like her. Ellie realizes that her dreams and reality are connected, and that Ms. Collins was always Sandie.