The following is an excerpt from an Essay written about the various philosophies touched on in "Waking Life" which I'm sure everyone's seen at some point - although not the deepest nor most resonant of films, lending itself more to stoner philosophy 101 than anything too indepth or exacting, i did find this little essay on the film alot of fun to read while sitting in my isolated little cubicle staring down the entire length of pine street...
Scene 4, with Kim Krizan, is about how we can overcome alienation through spiritual communion, understanding each other through words like "love." This is evidence of the more poetic, positive side of situationism, of Vaneigem's idea that we could build a cathedral of poetry and love in which to carry out our everyday lives.
Scene 14, Noise and Silence, hints at the roots of situationism in avant-garde artistic movements like Dada, surrealism, and the Lettrist International (the immediate precursor of the Situationist International, from which it emerged in 1957). A chimp pronounces a monologue into a microphone as a series of film clips (including Kurosawa's Dreams and a punk rock performance) play on a screen behind him. He talks about how art can be used to create subversive micro-societies, which open up new possibilities. Anything is still possible the talking chimp tells us, even though the world seems empty and degraded. True communication is the key. In a true situationist gesture, he eats his script at the end.
The difficult path to authenticity is made more specific in Scene 20, The Holy Moment, when filmmaker Caveh Zahedi describes André Bazin's theory that since God is in all reality, films are really attempts to capture God. When Zahedi and poet David Jewell try to have such a moment, they are partially successful; yet Jewell confesses that he slips in and out of the moment, becoming aware of the layers of reality embedded in such an attempt at real communication.
|The rest of Doug Mann's essay|