If you were to explain the power of films in the most cliché way possible, you might say that movies manage to capture our imaginations in both a figurative and literal sense. They not only give us stories that inspire or amaze us, but also capture viewers’ imaginations by attempting to visualize thoughts, emotions, motivations, and desires, all things that typically remain internal.
When it comes to depicting the internal, the dream sequence is one of the more stylized and reliable methods in filmmaking. There’s great freedom in using such a trope, which permits filmmakers to play with, among other elements, focus, narrative, direction, and color. At its worst, the dream sequence is a blunt way of representing character motivation, a crutch used when dialogue or direction isn’t sufficiently conveying internal conflict. At its best though, the dream sequence deepens our understanding of a character or the plot, and its inherently surreal nature can allow for a more intriguing and meaningful exploration of a film’s themes. Over at Vimeo, Dreamscience has cut together some of the more memorable and evocative movie dream sequences for your viewing pleasure, including clips from Aliens, The Big Lebowski, Inception, and Un Chien Andalou. Turn off your mind, relax, push play on the video below, and float downstream.