I am glad all these writings came before mine. I have no interest in relating the cast
, or the director
, or the film's history. I can only tell you my reaction
s. These are important to me. They help me judge the film. The ability to affect and influence in a physical and real way, is what gives theories value.
I sat down to watch an "animated movie about philosophy." For two hours I listened and watched, watched and listened. At times it was difficult to do both simultaneously. The film's richness and quality of colour made it achingly beautiful to the point of distraction. But I listened to the ideas that were being discussed, to the ideas that echoed after they had been spoken. And I listened to what I was retaining of the wave of words washing over me. I thought about certain questions.
How do we define our identity.
How do we find meaning in our lives.
How do we understand reality.
How do we relate to each other.
How do we choose to live our lives.
I watched the movie. And I watched myself watching the movie, and taking away what was crucial and relevant to my life. The credits ran and I didn't move, and neither did the friends who I had seen the movie with. We sat until the credits ended and the theater emptied and we wandered out into the night, talking, smoking, talking, walking, talking. The world was different - we were awake, shotguns loaded with information, firing in various directions. A woman asked me for money for McDonalds food. When I told her I had no change she stopped me and asked me to buy them for her for the sake of my karma. I listened, and bought them for her. A minor gesture, but I felt she appreciated my smile as well as the cookies. We continued on our walk.
As the night wore on I could feel the intensity fading, the immediacy of the images and ideas moving to the background of my mind. We grasped at these images as they faded for the next two hours, our conversations growing more distant from the movie as we walked the streets of the city with no direction other than forward. Eventually we boarded the bus home and made dinner for ourselves, drinking wine and yelling at each other good-naturedly around the table, laughing.
I left that movie theater optimistic
about myself, about the world and about the future.
Post-modernism is generally seen as a pessimistic ideology - I see it as the opposite. Every day, we are given the opportunity to recreate ourselves. Everyday, we can take the chance to accept responsibility in all its forms.
Our actions are influenced by the things we see, the messages we hear and the people we come into contact with. Sometimes things bring us together. They wake us up. They shake us, just a little. Enough to make us focus, to clarify, and to think a little harder. I may not be able to clarify what is was about Waking Life that I found beautiful, worthwhile, valuable. But I can tell you that I left the theatre connected, with my heart and mind open. Everything seemed a little crisper that night.
We strive our whole lives for those singular moments, those times that we connect with each other, that we forget how alone we are in the world. We live for those moments.
Not many of the ideas in the film were entirely new to me. But what was new was their beauty - their context in a shimmering, colourful world. That was new to me. I took that away with me. And I'm trying to hold on to it.