Monday, December 14, 2015

Present Reimagined

Dreams Rewired (2015) - Luksch, Reinhart, Tode
 photo 10ec939f-d5dd-49af-b865-cc0a005dd2a6_zpsjv9zgv2a.jpg
Directed by Manu Luksch, Martin Reinhart and Thomas Tode, Dreams Rewired is a fascinating historical reflection of our obsession with connectivity. Appropriating old world technology to draw the parallels to our own, the post-NSA era society where files can be stored in the ether and anyone can have access from anywhere, any time.

The film digs deeper into history of mass media- early films, phonograph, radio and early television- culling from more than 200 archival silent movie clips and retro style animation, the Austrian experimental filmmakers examine not only development of technology but also human desire to connect with one another and to relentlessly innovate. The film also puts a mirror on 21st century society as it asks serious questions about our blind dependency on technology.

Narrated, ever so appropriately, by our resident alien queen from the future, Tilda Swinton, in her crisp, otherworldly voice, Rewired is a dense, playful, philosophical and poetic look not only at how the old, both real and imagined, technology (roughly from 1880s to 1930s) matches up to 21st century world that we are taking for granted - from radio transmitter on a garter belt, mobile device the size of shoe box, notions of virtual reality and world in harmony and understanding. Swinton playfully plays along, often having conversations all by herself in clips with two characters.

Beautifully structured, It sets up with the clips from infant stages of film technology - films by Edison, Feuillade, to early greats like Griffith, Vertov, Eisenstein, to early avant-garde silents where they imagined technology fueled Utopia.

The film takes a darker turn as it talks about invasion of privacy ('I can see everything through the wall!') and 'human zoo' with the exotic world archival footage that is today's equivalent of the third world poverty porn. It cleverly makes a transition from early Soviet propaganda films (including Battleship Potemkin) to aerial view of bombed out Europe after WWI, to the first international TV broadcast of the Olympics game being Nazi Germany in 1936. That 'the world within arm's length also means within striking distance.' Then it hints at the rise of fascism and totalitarianism and surveillance.

Dreams Rewired is not only an entertaining visual feast for the eyes, but also a kin, thoughtful, cautious observation on how these 'imagined' world where total connection might have meant a 'transparent future' unlike our uncertain world where we store and share information in ether and deal with whistle blower scandals in the deepest reaches of the governments every other year.

Dreams Rewired has world theatrical premiere, Wednesday, Dec. 16 at Film Forum.