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David Carter

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325055

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325055.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Dreams and the Cinema

Dreams and the Cinema

(p.51) 5. Dreams and the Cinema

David Carter

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the oneiric film theory which claims that the experience of cinema is akin to that of dreaming, before considering what methods are used in Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010) to depict the dream states. It details how Inception uses dream theory. It is clear that the film assumes the existence of an unconscious area of the mind, which can be influenced through access by skilled operators. This is very much in accordance with Sigmund Freud's concept of repression: disturbing thoughts are repressed from consciousness, but, if such thoughts, or ideas, are too disturbing they start to force their way back into consciousness, and the sleeping mind distorts them, changes them in some way, so that they can be contemplated in dreams but will not break through into consciousness. Extraction is a process of gaining access to such a repressed idea. A sci-fi element is thus introduced in the film, with the notion that it is possible to train the subconscious to defend itself against extraction. The chapter then looks at the dream states depicted in the film and considers the presuppositions about the nature of dreams and the subconscious mind.

Keywords:   oneiric film theory, cinema, Christopher Nolan, Inception, dream states, dream theory, unconscious mind, repression, dreams, subconscious mind

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