Waking Life

Waking Life

Waking Life is a 2001 American adult animated docufiction film, directed by Richard Linklater. The film explores a wide range of philosophical issues including the nature of reality, dreams, consciousness, the meaning of life, free will, and existentialism. Waking Life is centered on a young man who wanders through a succession of dream-like realities wherein he encounters a series of individuals who engage in insightful philosophical discussions. The film was entirely rotoscoped, although it was shot using digital video of live actors with a team of artists drawing stylized lines and colors over each frame with computers, rather than being filmed and traced onto cels on a lightbox. The film contains several parallels to Linklater's 1991 film Slacker. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise their characters from Before Sunrise in one scene. Waking Life premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.

Genre: Animation, Drama
Production: Fox Searchlight
  5 wins & 20 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.8
Metacritic:
82
Rotten Tomatoes:
80%
R
Year:
2001
99
$2,063,729
Website
10,594 Views

Philosophy Professor:
The reason why I refuse to take existentialism as just another French fashion or historical curiosity is that I think it has something very important to offer us... I'm afraid were losing the real virtues of living life passionately in the sense of taking responsibility for who you are the ability to make something of yourself and feel good about life. Existentialism is often discussed as if it were a philosophy of despair, but I think the truth is just the opposite. Sartre, once interviewed, said he never felt once minute of despair in his life. One thing that comes out from reading these guys is not a sense of anguish about life so much as a real kind of exuberance, of feeling on top of it, its like your life is yours to create. Ive read the post modernists with some interest, even admiration, but when I read them I always have this awful nagging feeling that something absolutely essential is getting left out. The more you talk about a person as a social construction or as a confluence of forces or as being fragmented of marginalised, what you do is you open up a whole new world of excuses. And when sartre talks about responsibilty, he's not talking about something abstract. He's not taling about the kind of self or souls that theologians would talk about. Hes talking about you and me talking, making descisions, doing things, and taking the consequences. It might be true that there are six million people in this world, and counting, but nevertheless -what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference, first of all, in material terms, to other people, and it sets an example. In short, I think the message here is that we shouuld never write ourselves off or see eachother as a victim of various forces. It's always our descision who we are.

Man 3:
If the world that we are forced to accept is false and nothing is true, then everything is possible.

Man 4:
On the way to discovering what we love, we will find everything we hate, everything that blocks our path to what we desire.

Man 2:
The comfort will never be comfortable for those who seek what is not on the market. A systematic questioning of the idea of happiness.

Man 1:
We'll cut the vocal chords of every empowered speaker. We'll yank the social symbols through the looking glass. We'll devalue society's currency. To confront the familiar.

Man 4:
Society is a fraud so complete and venal that it demands to be destroyed beyond the power of memory to recall its existence.

Man 3:
Where there is fire we will carry gasoline

Man 4:
Interrupt the continuum of everyday experience and all the normal expectations that go with it.

Man 2:
To live as if something actually depended on one's actions

Man 1:
To rupture the spell of the ideology of commodified consumer society, so our repressed desires of more authentic nature can come forward.

Man 3:
To demonstrate the contrast between what life presently is and what it could be.

Man 1:
To immerse ourselves in the oblivion of actions and know we're making it happen.

Man 2:
There will be an intensity never before known in everyday life to exchange love and hate, life and death, terror and redemption, repulsions and attractions.

Man 3:
An affirmation of freedom so reckless and unqualified, that it amounts to a total denial of every kind of restraint and limitation.

Pinball Playing Man:
And that's what time is. That's what all of history is, this kind of continuous, you know, daydream or distraction. And so I read that, and I was like, 'Well, that's weird.' And then that night, I had a dream, and there was this guy in the dream who was supposed to be a psychic. But I was skeptical. I was like, 'He's not really a psychic' I was just thinking to myself. And then suddenly, I start floating, like levitating up to the ceiling. And as I almost go through the roof, I'm like, 'OK, Mr. Psychic, I believe you. You're a psychic. Put me down, please.' And I float down, and as my feet touch the ground, the psychic turns into this woman in a green dress. And this woman is Lady Gregory. Now, Lady Gregory was Yeats' patron, this, you know, Irish person. And though I'd never seen her image, I was just sure that this was the face of Lady Gregory. So we're walking along, and Lady Gregory turns to me and says, 'Let me explain to you the nature of the universe.' Now, Philip K. Dick is right about time, but he's wrong that it's 50 A.D. Actually, there's only one instant, and it's right now, and it's eternity. And it's an instant in which God is posing a question, and that question is basically, 'Do you wanna, you know, be one with eternity, do you want to be in heaven?' And, we're all saying, 'Nooo thank you, not just yet.' And so time is actually just this constant saying 'No' to God's invitation. I mean, that's what time is. I mean, and it's no more 50 A.D. than it's 2001, you know? I mean, there's just this one instant, and that's what we're always in. And then she tells me that actually this is the narrative of everyone's life. That, you know, behind the phenomenal difference there is but one story, and that's the story of moving from the 'No' to the 'Yes.' All of life is like, 'No thank you, No thank you, No thank you.' And then, ultimately, it's, 'Yes I give in, Yes I accept, Yes I embrace.' I mean, that's the journey. Everyone gets to the 'Yes' in the end, right? So we continued walking, and uh, my dog runs over to me. And so I'm petting him. I'm really happy to see him, you know. He's been dead for years. So I'm petting him and then I realize there's this kind of gross oozing stuff coming out of his stomach. And I look over at Lady Gregory, and she sort of coughs. She's like, 'Oh, excuse me.' And there's vomit like dribbling down her chin, and it smells really bad. And I think, 'Well, wait a second. That's not just the smell of vomit' which is, doesn't smell very good. 'That's the smell of dead person vomit. You know, it's, like, doubly foul.' And then I realized I'm actually in, you know, the land of the dead. And everyone around me was dead. My dog had been dead over ten years. Lady Gregory had been dead a lot longer than that. When I finally woke up, I was like, 'Whoa. That wasn't a dream. That was a visitation to this real place, the land of the dead.'...Oh, man. It was just like one of those, like, life-altering experiences. I mean, I could never really look at the world the same way again after that.

The Dreamer:
I mean, how did you, how did you finally get out of the dream? See, that's my problem. I'm like I'm trapped. I keep, I keep thinking that I'm waking up, but I'm still in a dream. It seems like it's going on forever. I can't get out of it. I wanna wake up for real. How do you really wake up?

Pinball Playing Man:
I don't know. I don't know. I'm not very good at that anymore. But, um, if that's what you're thinkin', I mean, you probably should. I mean, you know, if you can wake up, you should, because, you know, some day, you know, you won't be able to, so, just, uhm, but it's easy, you know - just, just wake up.

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