Movie Spotlight: Re-cycle

I was going to write an entry on Inception, what with all the buzz it’s been causing lately.  But by saying that I didn’t really enjoy it all that much, I probably would be going against the grain of popular opinion.  No I didn’t necessarily enjoy Inception, though I did find it at least halfway intelligent and thought-provoking unlike the majority of movies that came out over the summer season.  

I went in expecting wild dreamscapes and an emotional thriller and I came out with the same kind of unsatisfied “eh” as I did after Shutter Island.  It was good, but it could have been better. It could have been pushed more.  More characterization, more world-building, just…more.  It fell flat in a few places for me (I’ll probably go into this in a later entry after I’ve had a chance to re-watch it and sort out my feelings in regards to this movie).

The main reason I didn’t enjoy Inception lies in my own expectations for a dream world.  I wanted a taste of the wild side!  For a movie that explored the depths of subconscious wastelands, it was particularly drab and mundane.  However, a dreamer can come to accept many strange things in a dream without necessarily finding it absurd.  The excuse in Inception was that absurdities would make a dream unstable so that a dreamer knew they were dreaming.  

Sure, there’s a city street that bends in half in the movie, but this wasn’t weird enough for me. After all, I’ve dreamed of zombie brides and melting houses and completely accepted those scenarios as ‘real’ at the time I was dreaming them.  Obviously, my tastes are a little more on the surreal side!

With those surreal tastes in mind, I’d like to put the spotlight on the little gem of an Asian film called Re-cycle (which inspired said dream of undead brides and melting houses) from the renowned Pang Brothers.  For those who crave the dreamlands of the strange and unusual, I invite you to consider the story of Ting-yin, a young novelist struggling to come up with a followup to her best-selling trilogy of romance novels. After erasing her failed draft, she begins to see strange, unexplainable things

The untold novel begins to seep into her world, where she finds herself haunted by her own character, who is horribly malformed because she was never given shape by her creator.  Pulled into an unstable dreamland built on the bones of forgotten things, Ting-yin must confront one strange vision after another to find her way out.

From heaps of lost toys to caves of fetuses, this movie only gets stranger by the moment.  By the time you get to the forest of forgotten suicides, you’ll feel like you’re in Dante’s Inferno, surmounting circles of sinners to find a way through Hell.

I’m not generally squeamish or affected by movies of this sort, but something in the layered concoction of surreal happenings in this film really stuck with me. So much so that I had the doozie of a dream that inspired my old painting, Risen. (more description about that dream at the link).  Re-cycle may make no sense when you describe the plot, but it’s the journey through a world rife with pure imagery that really makes it fascinating to me.

So if you have a hankering for the strange and unusual dreamscapes, give Re-cycle a look!  It’s available for instant play via Netflix and has been released on DVD.  While Inception has its place as a smart psychological thriller with surreal influences, Re-cycle and The Cell will always be the ultimate surreal dreamscape movies for me.

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