Thursday, August 16, 2012

the test dream


These days, I’m back again to remembering my dreams. But before anyone could slam this down as a review of ambitions and rousing inventories of B.S., let me be clear that I am referring to that reel playing in your head when you are asleep—snoring optional.

Just today, without disclosing too much, I could recall last night’s story and set of images that includes a full moon, a pig pen, a high-ceilinged bedroom, a mattress, a clump of hair, a pale blue plastic barrel, a sunny morning, and dirty fingernails among many other things.

There is a narrative that strings them all, surprisingly logical, but what I could not work out is how all of these come together. Where did that come from? Why did it turn out that way?

If studies or theories are to be considered, that dreams are manifestations of desires and anxieties, then I suppose I am an alien in this planet. Such want and concern have no place in a world obsessed with expectations, order, and the elusive happy ending.

Strangely enough, dreams in our sleep further make a mockery of our dreams—of which, this time, I mean objectives, aspirations, targets. Put the fluidity and randomness of a dream next to a goal, and the latter would definitely pale in comparison based on truthfulness alone. What you are aiming at would look like a joke.

Why? As much as we want a straight, smooth path, life never has one and never will, its roads and paths and alleyways all crooked, forking, steep or narrow. Just like a dream, it is damn irregular. That is why.

For all our pessimism about how shockingly unrealistic events and people could be, about how we think our problems and privileges are worse and better than anybody else’s, it seems we are all goofing around. Real life is one, long hallucinatory ride, and there is no jumping off this train. Unless.


Speaking of unrealism, I don’t get why someone could complain how unrealistic movies can be. An acquaintance who has seen Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy shares to the world (she tweeted her thoughts) that she is a bit disappointed because it is “funny” and “unrealistic.”

Funny, yes, it has its comedic moments, especially the punchline-worthy revelation of the Philippines as a crucial destination for our runaway black op member. But unrealistic? It is not a perfect film, but that raised an eyebrow.

We let slip in our collective suspension of disbelief the orcs in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the spell-casting wands in the Harry Potter flicks or the biceps bursting in The Expendables, therefore we must not question the skill-enhancing drugs, the feverish chase, or the unlimited bullets fired in The Bourne Legacy. And above all, we must not compare the Manila in the film to the Manila we know. Remember, there’s what you call the power of editing. Like some divine gift, everything’s possible: Crash your motorcycle somewhere in Pasay and cruise next on Palawan waters in seconds!

The point is unrealism is vital to a movie. It fascinates, entertains, and brings a jumble of emotions in a viewer—whether good or bad is another story. Unrealism makes us evaluate our own reality, see what works and won’t, while feasting on the improbability-made-possible through filmmaking techniques. In some ways, a movie is an accomplished dream on screen.

So next time, dear moviegoer, never bring up unrealism as a cinematic issue. If the urge is too hard to resist, just settle with the documentaries on History Channel or National Geographic.


When I can faintly recall a dream upon waking, I try to squeeze out every trace of it from my head, summon the cohesiveness that starts to materialize, and write all of it swiftly on paper, in the phone or the iPod. Every passing second is an open window for distraction, so it has to be done fast. This week alone, I manage a record of two accounts. Though they resemble less of a nightmare, I could not say they are the sweetest of dreams either. If this is a motif that would stretch on until the next few days, then allow me to say my apologies now for being as dour as ever.


Contrary to popular belief, almost all of my dreams are vividly colored. Almost, because I remember one from four years ago that is in sepia. Yes, a freaking, Instagramic sepia.


I’ve just suggested to someone to watch The Sopranos because it remains my all-time favorite, because I think it is one of the best products of pop-culture ever made, and because I think people better waste their time on something that does not waste their time at all. (Another example: reading).

One of the episodes of this six-season serial drama that revolves around the life of an Italian-American mobster is entitled “The Test Dream.” David Chase, writer of this particular episode, (and also the series’ creator and executive producer) explains in an interview that the title “refers to the dreams where an individual turns up late for a test in school and is wearing no clothing, meaning that the person is unprepared for a test or another task they have to face.”

It is a fine episode, as usual. And that’s all I’ve got to say. Just watch the show.


If this is not a test dream, am I prepared for this?


Anonymous said...

A friend who is a psych major once told me that the color of the dreams has a meaning. Even the point of view corresponds to some subliminal subconscious stuff I have no interest in knowing about, haha. And as for me, I'd rather not call my goals 'dreams.' I don't like it how the other definition relates to something random and, at most times, far-fetched.

f. jordan said...

Yeah, heard of that, too. But I usually dismiss the color when remembering dreams. Though that sepia episode sticks out. It was something else. Haha. As for the definition of 'dream,' I just like its diversity and malleability.