Modern Lens Of Cinematic Attractions: What Dreams May Come

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In the Modern Lens of Cinematic Attractions: What Dreams May Come (1998) A1: The Afterlife of Chris Nielsen (What Dreams May Come, Vincent Ward, 1998)

For decades, film critics and theorists have undermined films for their lack of narrative and over-the-top visuals, rebuking others, often the average film viewer, for perceiving these films with contrasting opinions. Appraising all films under the "hegemony of narration" (Gunning 381) subverts the milestones of early and modern cinema. For example, the release of What Dreams May Come (1998) directed by Vincent Ward endured backlash despite taking home the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and the Art Directors Guild Award for Excellence in Production Design. It chronicles the …show more content…

The aesthetic and visual execution of the film warrants its assessment as a showing or showcase medium, and not singularly by its storytelling. The scene when the protagonist, Chris Nielsen, finds himself in an afterlife emulating his wife 's paintings exemplifies this (00:24:51-00:27:48). Upon waking, Chris finds himself in an oil meadow painting brought to life (please refer to A1). He soon discovers that the exuberant scene before him is constructed with genuine paint; he explores the masterpiece in motion by gliding his way through the wet landscape, a pastiche of impressionist art styles from nineteenth century masters such as Monet (A2) and Van Gogh (A3). The scene marries new technology and the elements of oil painting (such as colour, stroke and brushwork), which creates an aesthetic that realises an abstract world realistically into existence. Homogenising the public’s reaction on seeing moving images around the turn of the twentieth century, the scene elicits astonishment, mesmerizing spectators on seeing paintings in motion, and therefore constitutes the film as a modern cinema of attractions. Labelling What Dreams May Come as an exhibition of technological innovation is cogent, and in reality should not be intrinsically tied to the narrative of the film. Truthfully, audiences should respect the film’s ingenuity as it introduced revolutionary special effect techniques and

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