Friday, August 1, 2014




This is a film that starts out as a meditation on existentialism and perceptions of who we are as people. Slowly, it focuses on a screenwriter struggling to write about these themes. In the beginning this is interesting, although one begins to wonder if it really belongs in the category of documentary.

Questions like "Are dreams real while we dream them?" and "What are you?" are placed before us as a precursor to a long, self-indulgent look at a man becoming unhinged by the search for the meaning of his own existence, trying to look at the world in a new way. The first section prompts us to think about how we measure our lives in terms of success, rather than on how we live. We ask ourselves if that should matter. People seek fame, fortune and power because they want to influence events, to shape our reality. Thus the question becomes, "what is reality?" The film touches on this theme of perception, and then largely abandons it to use the writer as a means of exploring the search for its meaning.

The rest of the movie uses optical illusions and heavy-handed dramatic measures, which reminded me of Terrence Malick. One of the things that frustrates me about films using existentialism as a theme is that they necessarily divert attention away from concrete thought and indulge in pretty imagery when there is no way to satisfactorily answer the many questions posed. Similarly, director-writer Gert de Graaff uses diversions like these to try and make sense out of his premise, which ends up being more frustrating than illuminating. Like a lot of Malick movies, when it ended I found myself with a sentiment of relief rather than catharsis.

 [Dutch with Subtitles]

* Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival Award 2000:  Best Documentary

* Rhode Island International Film Festival 2001:  Best Experimental Film