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In Dreams

An experimental documentary about people's dreams, that feels like a modern take on surrealism.

0 – 5 | 2011 | Documentary | Dreams | Experimental | UK

To make his graduate film from Northumbria University, British animator Samuel Blain decided to direct a documentary about ordinary individuals’ recurring dreams. He interviewed many people, recording audio of their accounts of  their most incredible dreams or nightmares. He then chose those that he considered to be more suited to the short he had in mind and decided to represent the whole dream with an object, a representative image.

This was the genesis of this incredible experimental documentary. The protagonists of the film are the same people whose dreams are being narrated. The idea of ​​having non-professional actors excited the director, particularly interested in the awkwardness that ensues when one’s telling intimate secretes to another person.  That’s what adds to the peculiarity of the short: on one hand, these people are laid bare in front of the camera and on film, on the other hand they are protected by anonymity, as the animator chose to replace their heads with the objects. Secrecy and total exposure coexist, and it works.

There’s the guy who used to dream as a child about being chased by giant wolves covered with eyes whose head is now filled with eyeballs, the lady who often dreams about losing her teeth that turns into a denture, and so on.

It ‘a very simple idea, but often creativity and simplicity go hand in hand, especially when there is also great technical skill to support the ideas. The animation is very well made and believable, it’s almost  like seeing real monsters narrating their dreams.

The director’s work could be considered like a modern take on surrealism. Transposing  excerpts of the subconscious figuratively is nothing new to the art world, but the literal way in which Blain realizes it is very interesting. There’s no digging in the depths of the psyche, no associations of images. What you see is what you get. The operation is certainly less refined, but has an alienating effect that’s very similar to that of some surrealist paintings.

The short film has won many awards in the international festival circuit, including the prestigious D & AD award.

Flavia Ferrucci

Flavia Ferrucci

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