Monday, July 19, 2010

Dream Weaver

I am a huge fan of Nolan's movies, so seeing Inception Saturday night was a real treat. The greatness of the story is the way the film has me questioning what was reality and what was not in the movie. In fact, this leads to the big question Zizek poses in light of the movie The Matrix. Zizek's point is not that there is the real reality and a fictional reality out there; we are all living in a world that we see through fictions (in other words, the 3rd pill). Symbolic fantasy is what makes us work and live in the symbolic universe.

How does Inception deal with this argument? For starters, the critics are right that this movie is one that needs to be viewed multiple times in order to get it. In light of that, what I immediately pulled out of the movie is the way Leo's main character may be simply seeking wish fulfillment throughout the entire movie; family and guilt are at the center of his world and by the end of the movie he has moved from his wife to his kids as the object of desire that he has attained. Or has he? The whole picture and all the characters throughout the movie may be one elaborate dream sequence he sets up in his mind (or at least is subconsciously put there) in order to get his "dream" children again. One of the funny things about his character is when someone probes too much into his memory of the real reality (non-dream world), he begins to freak out and his defenses go up. The ending was very neat and tidy, which makes myself (and my fellow audience at the AMC) give a collective "Oh....ahhh" at the last scene of the film.

Besides this not so very deep reading of the movie, the special effects were out of this world. I especially loved Joseph Gordon-Levitt's fight scenes (awesome actor) in dream layer number 2. It was just an awesome scene.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Said: Seeing from Engaged Eyes

It took me a while to finally finish Edward Said's classic Orientalism. His claim is that Western philologist's/historian's writings depict the people of the Middle East in a way that makes them a mythical Other. In other words, the Orient becomes an enchanted place to the Western viewer. A good example is the Aladdin story of genies and magic carpets.

Anyway, as I have begun to read current strands of philosophy and theology of the engaged follower of the Event, I am left wondering, with Said, that perhaps there is a time to suspend engagement and to try to open oneself to a universal, rational public world where the East/West views will no longer become clouded by engaged eyes. This view is obviously a little naive in light of the postmodern turn in the academic world or the multicultural turn to the celebration of a plurality of narratives. However, perhaps we should double the attempts to temper our engagement with a little indifference. Blind engagement for the sake of a cause is the ultimate betrayal of justice to a good cause.