Lucid dreams – dreams where the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming, hence giving them some control over the dream. A lucid dreamer has the ability to be conscious while experiencing a projection of his subconscious. Imagine having this ability and the opportunities offered – the power to experience anything. Most of us might have the ability, only to some extent, whereas some are experts at it, after years of practice. Transforming your inner dream world into a living alternate reality, lucid dreams enable you to see, hear, feel, taste, smell everything just as authentically as you would in real life. It is no wonder that many films have explored this phenomenon. While some films have very blurry lines between lucid dreams, astral projection, out-of-body experiences and even normal dreams. Here is a concise list of five purely lucid dream-based movies you need to wake up to.
Probably the leader in any list of movies based on dreams (let alone lucid ones), this masterpiece by Christopher Nolan literally digs deep into the subconscious. It features an ensemble cast where Leonardo DiCaprio plays a thief who steals people’s thoughts by entering their dreams. If you thought stealing ideas might be far-fetched, how about planting ideas? The OST by Hans Zimmer makes it as dramatic and dream-like as it can be.
Vanilla Sky (2001)
Directed and written by Cameron Crowe, the official remake of Alejandro Amenábar’s 1997 Spanish film Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) features a stunning cast of Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. With enough details to be missed, it entertains over multiple viewings. Watching it attentively could only help you figure what’s real and what isn’t. The film has been described as "an odd mixture of science fiction, romance and reality warp". The carefully and aptly selected tracks for the film only enhance the dreamy tones of the film.
Waking Life (2001)
A unique work of art by itself, the film is the only animated film released by Fox Searchlight Pictures so far. Directed by Richard Linklater, the film explores a wide range of philosophical issues including the nature of reality, dreams, consciousness, meaning of life, free will and existentialism. The film asks questions like: How can a person distinguish their dream life from their waking life? Do dreams have any sort of hidden significance or purpose?
This Japanese animated science fiction film is co-written and directed by Satoshi Kon. Based on Yasutaka Tsutsui’s 1993 novel of the same name, the film is about a research psychologist who uses a device that permits therapists to help patients by entering their dreams. This is an anime film to be taken very seriously.
The Science of Sleep (2006)
The surrealistic science fantasy comedy film, which features the concepts of lucid dreaming and false awakenings, is written and directed by Michel Gondry. Believe it or not, the film stems from a bed-time story that was written by Sam Mounier when he was 10 years old. It is about a man who is entranced by his dreams and imagination – he is love-struck with a French woman and feels he can show her his world.
PS: These movies might require multiple viewings, for you to make sense of them. Sweet dreams.