Indeed, the cinematic works I chose are no strangers to these ideas. They attest to the spirit of the youthful, hopeful impetus driving one to embrace the world; to the path that defines us and the satisfied, benevolent gaze backwards to the road behind us. My concerns as an “aspiring anthropologist” in addition to my interests in concepts such as cycles, transformations, and our ties to the territory, to the landscape and to nature, infuses the body of work with the wandering spirit of physical and imaginary vagrancy, and with a touch of melancholy.
Via this selection of short films — in documentary, animation, essay, and experimental forms — Dreams and Quests celebrates aspirations and dreams; quests for meaning and identity; interior, individual and existential pursuits. These works depict fears, shortcomings, desires, affects, paths, transformations, transitions, and our own finitude, too. Finally, it offers a subjective look at something resembling life: a winding road, a long journey that leaves marks in and all around us.
Created by John Paizs in 1976, The Dreamer is an animated silent film scored with a song by British rock group Electric Light Orchestra. With drawings call to mind the aesthetics of old Disney movies, The Dreamer depicts the brief but frenetic cavalcade of a pink baby elephant with fairy wings. Entering a castle while dancing, it is immediately chased by a big bad wolf with bat wings. Looking to escape, the small elephant goes further into the royal residence, with the wolf on its heels. The omnipresent music accentuates the suspense. The elephant finds itself stuck in the highest tower and has no choice but to jump, falling down into the dark waters surrounding the castle. The last shot shows it waking up in the arms of one of its' parents, in the forest, during a storm. It was all a dream.
The animated film is both pleasing and dark, using the iconic codes and symbols of classic fairy tales — e.g., castle, winged creatures, good versus evil. Behind the simple plot and fast pace hides multiple potential interpretations. I see the story of a nightmare, sure, but also the sped-up evocation of a transition: from naive childhood to restless adulthood. In my view, the film is a dive into the depths of the unconscious, filled with fears, demons, and repressed desires, evoking that crucial moment when one must jump into the unknown, leaving the reassuring arms of the parents to go towards uncertainty, which seems ready to swallow us whole.
The animated film is both pleasing and dark, using the iconic codes and symbols of classic fairy tales...