Tue February 5, 2002
"Waking Life" or dreaming life? That is the question Linklater's cast asks in this clever new update of "Vivre Sa Vie" and "My Dinner With Andr?."
By Clay Lowe, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
Anybody remember those rotoscoped Levi jeans commercials, or did I just make it up? Anyway, that's what "Waking Life" looks like, only in this hip new movie by Richard Linklater, the chicks, dudes, and old geezers stand around talking about not being able to distinguish dreams and reality, and all that other kind of existential stuff.
Godard did it in "Vivre Sa Vie" when Anna Karina sat herself down in a bar with a real philosopher -- and Louis Malle did it when Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn sat and talked all night at their table in "My Dinner With Andre." But every generation has to re-invent the past and make it their own. And why not?
The bonus this time around is that the digital rotoscoping technique (filming the actors live, then animating them) is super kool. And it's great that there's a hot new filmmaker who's interested in making movies about people who speak to each other and actually talk about ideas. It brought to mind the time when, back in the dark ages of black and white, the young son in Bergman's "Through a Glass Darkly" looked at the camera and said disbelievingly, "Papa spoke with me."
Keep your eyes out for Linklater's other new offering -- shot on digital video -- and, appropriately, called "Tape." It stars Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Robert Sean Leonard, and it too is a cinematic treat.
Clay Lowe co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time" and programs the film series at the Columbus Museum of Art.