Monday, January 24, 2011

Photo Folie - Inception

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Today's photo inspiration is a bit off the beaten path, but before I go further, I would like to share special thanks to Mrs. Soup, who suggested the name Photo Folie to replace Photo Friday. "Folie" is the French word for frenzy/madness and a play off our name, so I think this is just perfect! Thank you, to Mrs. Soup, for your brilliant suggestion! (If you haven't already, please email us your address.)

So, carrying on, today's photo inspiration is from the movie Inception. If you have little kiddos at home, chances are you are like us, and don't get to see many movies in the theater. Robert and I just happened to be able to steal away to see this when it debuted, and I have to say, I consider it a near perfect film. It has become archetypal for movies to have cataclysmic plot twist that end up being incongruous when you follow them backwards. Directors must figure that if the explosions are big enough, movie goers won't see the gaps. Well, Inception is not that movie. It has a tightly woven story that leaves for layers of discussion and speculation at the end. As soon as I saw it, I had a shoe design idea. (Yes, crazy, that's how my mind works!)
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Inception is based on the premise of the ability to steal dreams.... but what could be more dangerous than stealing a dream, but the planting of an idea; i.e. inception. One of the characters, Ariadne, serves as the architect and guide in the film. She wears red throughout the story, and it is no coincidence that she shares the name of the mythical character Ariadne who helped Theseus find his way through the Minotaur's labyrinth by leading him with a scarlet thread.

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SPOILER ALERT!
I suggest you skip this part if you haven't seen the film
(it won't make sense anyway)

One of the most brilliant components of the film is that clearly, the mark for inception is Dom Cobb himself. This is why even the "real" waking sequences of the film have the narrowing of walls, disjointed arrivals/departures, and why Cobb's father-in-law tells him the recurring phrase, "Come back to reality." Furthermore, within the deepest levels of the dream, we aren't grappling with Fischer's reality at all--but Dom Cobb's. Ariadne, then, serves as Dom Cobb's guide to leaving behind the painful guilt and regret of losing his wife, Mal. Furthermore, even the signal for the "kick" out of any dream serves as an elegant reminder; the French song "Non je ne regrette Rien" translates "I do not regret anything at all, either the good that has been done to me or the evil."

Of course, the biggest question after seeing the film: Is he awake or isn't he? The totem's endless spinning tells us he's dreaming, but the final scene cuts as the totem falters and Cobb walk off camera towards his children. But this can't really be answered without addressing the entire story as an analogy for film making. I think that Nolan is drawing from Oscar-winning director and screen writer, Federico Fellini, who wrote:
"Talking about dreams is like talking about movies, since the cinema uses the language of dreams;
years can pass in a second and you can hop from one place to another. It’s a language made of image.
And in the real cinema, every object and every light means something, as in a dream.”

Dreams aren't real, but they still impact our reality. Maybe we have a fight with a co-worker in a dream, and end up inadvertently giving him the evil-eye the next day at work. Similarly, movies are not real, but have the ability to impact our thoughts and perceptions about reality. So, I think the ending is intentionally left ambiguous, and theoretically unsolvable.

What I love about this film is that Nolan left a string of easter eggs for discovery and speculation, whether it's the theme of the potency of ideas, the motif of "taking a leap of faith," the oppression of capitalism, etc. One of the mysteries I haven't figured out is the numeric code 528 491, the "forgotten memory" that is tied to the vault, hotel room, the phone number, and the safe. Some people say it's a music code, but I think it's a backwards date, something in 1948, perhaps to do with the end of the "hollywood golden age," this lawsuit and the distribution of films.

Fellini also said, “All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography.” So, I speculate that Nolan has his own personal issues with regret. Regardless, I enjoyed the film and taking an hour or so to hopscotch the internet trying to piece together the puzzles in the movie. Whether it's literature or film, I enjoy the research, debate and process of discovery. Finally, I consider apparel to be fanciful and artistic, but I hope that this art form will give me the ability to still impact reality in a meaningful way.

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Back to the shoes, drawing from Ariadne's character, these boots not only share her name, but also the scarlet color and use of ribbon/thread. Her character represents navigating through a maze of ideas, and leading to a positive outcome. Something I identified with on both an artistic and personal level. I only have a handful of these boots which are available here.

I know that some of you probably didn't connect with the movie like how I did, but for those who you who do, I'd love to hear some of your insights into the film!

8 comments:

Amanda said...

Wow. You really pulled that together. I've seen Inception twice and we own it now. It is so deep that it will take a few more times of watching it for me to take it all in. I have a friend who took notes throughout the 2nd time watching it to mark down when Cobb was wearing a wedding band and when he wasn't. It seems to be a message to watchers. :)

I love these boots, too bad I missed out though. But that's okay, I love your blog and your writing and this was a wonderful thing to read today during the silliness of snack time. Haha! Keep up the amazing work!

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

I have not seen Inception yet, it's been on my list for awhile now though! Crazily enough I dreamed about these very boots the other night, seeing them on facebook right before heading to bed must have triggered something! :) My husband informed me that that officially makes me an addict (as if I wasn't already) and that he's going to stage an intervention! ;)

Mrs Soup said...

Gorgeous! I need to see that movie...

And I would love to email you, but I can't seem to find an email to send to you! I had a blast figuring out names!

Natalie said...

omg...I never thought of the movie from that perspective but it makes perfect sense! now I need to watch it again

Hana said...

Wow...you got all that?! I actually just rented it last night for the 2nd time and I still find it a bit confusing at times. The first time I watched it at the theatre I was convinced he was asleep in the end but last night I just knew he was awake...probably b/c it makes me feel better. Either way it is excellent and I didn't return it tonight b/c I have to watch it a 3rd time. I wish I was as insightful as you and was able to glean as much from it as you were able to do. In fact I think I need to reread your post before I watch it again! LOVE the boots btw, gawgeous!

kpriss said...

I totally understand the part with not being able to sneak out for a theater night! It's a bit frustrating sometimes, especially when there's a big movie on and we don't get to see it.. grrr

Getting back to Inception: I asked myself why I haven't been starstruck when I saw Inception. Maybe because I had previously been so with Matrix? (the first one) Or maybe because I'm genuinely scared of what dreams can do to me? (since I had this same nightmare when I was little, over and over and over again for years)

Taking things from your perspective, Nolan would be a genius. But I can't think of him that way. My favorite "genius" director (in terms of commercially - known - I'm not really a movie-file to know all there is to know and pick out the most brilliant director of them all) is Aronofsky. We were lucky enough to see Black Swan recently and I was blown away. The same as I was with his other movies (notably Pi). If you have the chance to see or you're already familiar with Aronofsky's movies, I'd be happy to exchange views anytime!

In my perspective, Nolan picked on an old idea - the dream world - and turned into something big (money big) and filled it with various symbols to make it more meaningful and worth watching again. The part of having either dreamed or lived through the death of your spouse and two kids makes the movie really hard to stomach.

On the other hand it's obvious that Cobb had suffered a serious trauma and that it was related to Marion. Then again Marion looks so troubled and mentally fragile it's clear as day something happened to her. Coming at him again and again also hints us that Cobb himself had something to do with her alienation.

However, two key characters in the movie are often neglected in my opinion as Jason Gordon Levitt pulls an amazing performance as the op man - always there, the perfect sidekick, anchored in reality and loyal without questioning. Ariadne is more the voice of Cobb's conscience, a perfection level he would never attain (which is brilliant, I think, since Nolan chose to portray that perfection through a female and not a male character), a vessel to salvation. Ariadne is so gifted and smart, it hurts.

I'll end this here since I my concentration was broken by a cute smarty pants girlie and I'll go off - Inception a bit:

have you seen Shutter Island?
have you noticed that Leonardo di Caprio's characters always have wives / girlfriends that end up dead? or he dies on them?

kpriss said...

umm.. I just realized I mixed and matched Shutter Island and Inception. :( sorry for that, I have to stick to that ny resolution - kids awake - no computer. Or else...

sorry for the spoilers, in case you didn't see Shutter Island!

Caprice Erickson said...

When will you be getting more if the red boots in stock?? Can u email me if you do I will buy them right away!!! capricenb@hotmail.com

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