Sergio Leone Web Board
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 23, 2017, 02:16:42 AM
Home Help Search Calendar Login Register
News:


+  Sergio Leone Web Board
|-+  Films of Sergio Leone
| |-+  Once Upon A Time In America (Moderators: cigar joe, moviesceleton, Dust Devil)
| | |-+  Dream Theory IMDB
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 9 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Dream Theory IMDB  (Read 34918 times)
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8314

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #30 on: July 17, 2012, 07:12:48 PM »

well if you wanna basically say that art means whatever the hell you want it to mean, then I guess that's that. No point in having any of these discussions, no point in trying to find out what was really intended by the director, if the director's intent doesn't mean more than whatever you want it to mean.

So the question, which IMO is very important, of whether Leone intended the movie to be a dream is settled (in fact it was never really a question at all). The only question up for discussion is "does Individual Viewer X want to interpret it as a dream?," a question which frankly doesn't interest me at all.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 07:16:15 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2012, 07:43:30 PM »

This discussion forces me to take a broader critical/philosophical track there. Comments below need not apply specifically to OUATIA.

well if you wanna basically say that art means whatever the hell you want it to mean, then I guess that's that. No point in having any of these discussions, no point in trying to find out what was really intended by the director, if the director's intent doesn't mean more than whatever you want it to mean.

There is no point to any discussion if you limit it to one interpretation alone. Art is interpretative - especially OUATIA, which (whatever Leone's comments) is deliberately vague and open-ended.

I certainly don't think the director is the sole authority over a movie. First of all, more generally, a director is quite often not the driving force behind a movie. If we're going to talk "artistic integrity" or intention than why exclude the producer/writer/star from consideration? Why is their vision not central to a movie's creation? Secondly,  this does not preclude a director failing to convey a message or the existence of alternate interpretations. Rote slavish auteurism is the last refuge of the Jacques Rivettes.
 
Quote
The only question up for discussion is "does Individual Viewer X want to interpret it as a dream?," a question which frankly doesn't interest me at all.

Then why discuss any movie? Just look up a director's thoughts on their own movie, post them and have done with it. End thread, indeed end board.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 07:45:09 PM by Groggy » Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8314

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2012, 08:03:39 PM »

Yes, if the question is "is the movie a dream," I think the fact that a director clearly intends it to be a dream settles it.

I don't disagree that the director is not the only one that matters. As I said in my earlier post, there were times with the studio system where the director was just one piece of the puzzle, and the movie had many other imprints; eg. the theatrical version of My Darling Clementine is very different from John Ford's version. No doubt.

But I specifically said with OUATIA that it is clear that this was Leone's Project.  Of course, if you find evidence that the writers or actors or whatever did not think it was a dream, then yeah,  I think there is room for debate. But with OUATIA, which Leone was clearly the driving force behind, intimately involved in every aspect of it, it was HIS movie, and he even sent a note to those working on the movie clearly outlining his intentions with the fantasy elements of the movie, so I'd say that in this case, absent clear evidence that others working on the movie oppose the dream theory, I'd say the dream theory is the only legitimate interpretation.

These statements only apply to a movie like OUATIA, with Leone as the dominating force. But in instances where, such as with My Darling Clementine, there is very large input from a studio, and in some cases was edited by a studio film editor with no input from the director, I certainly wouldn't say that the movie should have the strict interpretation of the director.

Leone is the one who directed the scenes, the one who told De Niro to smile at the end, the one who put that scene at the end of the movie, the one who had that surreal scene with the 30's car in 1968, etc. Yeah, absent significant evidence to the contrary, I'd say Leone's view should rule.


However, I can't expect you to accept my opinion about whether Leone's views should be dispositive, but I can expect dream-theory-opponents to explain your positions or answered the problems with your theory that I posed.  So let's for a moment forget Leone's statements about the dream. Let me just ask you to please explain: the visit to the opium den as a framing device, that final smile at the end of the movie, the surreal scene with Noodles in 1968 watching the partygoers in the 1930's cars, and the pagoda across from the Bailey mansion?

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
stanton
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2935



View Profile
« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2012, 02:04:06 AM »

Yes, if the question is "is the movie a dream," I think the fact that a director clearly intends it to be a dream settles it.

I don't disagree that the director is not the only one that matters. As I said in my earlier post, there were times with the studio system where the director was just one piece of the puzzle, and the movie had many other imprints; eg. the theatrical version of My Darling Clementine is very different from John Ford's version. No doubt.

But I specifically said with OUATIA that it is clear that this was Leone's Project.  Of course, if you find evidence that the writers or actors or whatever did not think it was a dream, then yeah,  I think there is room for debate. But with OUATIA, which Leone was clearly the driving force behind, intimately involved in every aspect of it, it was HIS movie, and he even sent a note to those working on the movie clearly outlining his intentions with the fantasy elements of the movie, so I'd say that in this case, absent clear evidence that others working on the movie oppose the dream theory, I'd say the dream theory is the only legitimate interpretation.

These statements only apply to a movie like OUATIA, with Leone as the dominating force. But in instances where, such as with My Darling Clementine, there is very large input from a studio, and in some cases was edited by a studio film editor with no input from the director, I certainly wouldn't say that the movie should have the strict interpretation of the director.

Leone is the one who directed the scenes, the one who told De Niro to smile at the end, the one who put that scene at the end of the movie, the one who had that surreal scene with the 30's car in 1968, etc. Yeah, absent significant evidence to the contrary, I'd say Leone's view should rule.


As I assumed Drink, you don't understand it.

Logged

chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #34 on: July 18, 2012, 02:51:03 AM »

I don't think it's that clear cut and unambiguous, drinkanddestory.  As I understand it, you're accepting that the director wanted to have hallucinatory and dream elements in the movie but refusing to accept his statement that it was edited carefully and on purpose so that it would have a double meaning.

The white jaguar in the procession during the garbage truck scene looks the same as the white jaguar at Bailey's mansion.  The kids could be just dressed up formally and have hired classic cars for an evening out.  The beer bottles thrown out of the cars don't look like beer bottles from 1933.  The pagoda is just a tentative link in anticipation of the following scene.  After the procession of cars goes by Noodles looks down.  The cars and the pagoda could have triggered a memory.  Noodles could just be remembering an important time in his life when he betrayed his friends, went to an opium den to seek solace and is similar to the ending of the book when Noodles stretched out on his back, all his aches and tiredness flowed out of him and he felt safe and at peace.


Logged
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8314

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #35 on: July 18, 2012, 03:15:07 AM »

I don't think it's that clear cut and unambiguous, drinkanddestory.  As I understand it, you're accepting that the director wanted to have hallucinatory and dream elements in the movie but refusing to accept his statement that it was edited carefully and on purpose so that it would have a double meaning.



woah, I have said very clearly all along that whenever I speak about the "dream theory," I am accepting either the notion that it is clearly meant to be a dream, or the notion that it is meant as a possible dream, as a double meaning; I am only rejecting the notion that it is absolutely meant to be literal with no possibility of a dream interpretation

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8314

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2012, 03:24:23 AM »


The white jaguar in the procession during the garbage truck scene looks the same as the white jaguar at Bailey's mansion.  The kids could be just dressed up formally and have hired classic cars for an evening out.  The beer bottles thrown out of the cars don't look like beer bottles from 1933.  The pagoda is just a tentative link in anticipation of the following scene.  After the procession of cars goes by Noodles looks down.  The cars and the pagoda could have triggered a memory.  Noodles could just be remembering an important time in his life when he betrayed his friends, went to an opium den to seek solace and is similar to the ending of the book when Noodles stretched out on his back, all his aches and tiredness flowed out of him and he felt safe and at peace.



so there happened to be a pagoda on Long Island, and that triggered Noodles's memory of the time when he smoked opium the night after betraying his friends? So the movie ends with Noodles remembering that night in the opium den -- a memory triggered by the pagoda, which just so happened to be there on Long Island? That's not very satisfying. (The ending in the book means nothing; the book has no 1968 section at all; it ends when Noodles is able to escape New York after ratting out his friends; finally, when he escaped successfully, he was able to find some momentary peace for the first time in a long time. That has nothing to do with this moment in the opium den, which occurs while he is still in New York. The Hoods s used strictly for some events and narrative, and I wouldn't use it as any sort of resolution to any important plot questions).

As I said previously, I guess that the surreal aspect of the scene with the 30's cars in 1968 would have been emphasized if they;d included that deleted scene in which you see Noodles walking through the partiers in Chinatown on his way to the opium den. Perhaps it would have cut from that car directly to the partiers in Chinatown, or from Noodles's face directly to his face on that night. Who knows. Lots of shit had to be cut to get the movie down to 229 minutes; but this doesn't seem to be one of the scenes that has been restored (yet?). Either way, I think including that brief scene may have further emphasized this point, but not changed anything. It's a fantasy, all along.

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8314

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #37 on: July 18, 2012, 03:32:35 AM »

To me it doesn't really matter if half of the movie is a dream. Even though the discussion is interesting, I find it ultimately irrelevant. I guess I could try and babble something fake-poetic about it (cinema is always a dream blah blah blah OUATIA is a film about cinema i.e. dreams blah blah blah) but I refuse to embarrass myself and will only say that I don't find the debate relevant.

well I guess that Sergio Leone and Claudia Cardinale loved to "embarrass themselves," and  "babble something fake-poetic," cuz they are just two of the people that have said basically those same words you are using. Yes, it's true. That's the point. And that was Leone's point. He made it as clear as he possibly could. I knew that, without a doubt, from Frayling's chapter on OUATIA; and reading these translated interviews with Leone that were recently posted on this thread only emphasizes it all, again and again.

You don't seem to mind embarrassing yourself in other instances, but stating the truth about Leone's intent with OUATIA wouldn't be an example of that.  Unless you somehow consider the truth to be embarrassing. All I'm trying to do is understand and discuss the truth about Leone's intentions with OUATIA. Which is sort of the things we do on these boards.

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2012, 04:37:55 AM »

I conceded above that not all of my general arguments apply specifically OUATIA.

woah, I have said very clearly all along that whenever I speak about the "dream theory," I am accepting either the notion that it is clearly meant to be a dream, or the notion that it is meant as a possible dream, as a double meaning; I am only rejecting the notion that it is absolutely meant to be literal with no possibility of a dream interpretation

Who here said there is "absolutely no possibility of a dream interpretation"? Straw man much?

Quote
Leone is the one who directed the scenes, the one who told De Niro to smile at the end, the one who put that scene at the end of the movie, the one who had that surreal scene with the 30's car in 1968, etc. Yeah, absent significant evidence to the contrary, I'd say Leone's view should rule.

As Chris said, Leone made it deliberately ambiguous. If he wanted to make things overtly point to one answer he would have presented the '68 scenes in a fashion to preclude a straight reading. Does Noodles have flashbacks within a dream? I guess it's possible but the fluidity of it suggests cinema not opium.

What does the framing device prove? It could be the basis for a dream. It could also be seen as a turning point in Noodles' life - his friends were just killed, presumably through his treachery, and he'd spend the rest of his life on the lam. Hence its centrality to the story.

The main point I'd say in favor of the Dream Theory is the sparseness of the '68 settings, with relatively few period details filled in. Even there though, a lot of things would raise eyebrows emanating from a 1930s man's imagination, opium or no. Television plays a major role in the '68 scenes - was Noodles psychic? Would he know Yesterday? If we take some scenes on a literal level (eg. the '30s car in '68) rather than cinematic why not others?

I guess we could take your approach, that a director's word is God, but that would turn this board to a recitation of facts, not a discussion. Where's the fun in that? That is a very reductive view of film discussion.

« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 04:46:57 AM by Groggy » Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8314

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #39 on: July 18, 2012, 06:28:16 AM »

I conceded above that not all of my general arguments apply specifically OUATIA.

Who here said there is "absolutely no possibility of a dream interpretation"? Straw man much?

As Chris said, Leone made it deliberately ambiguous. If he wanted to make things overtly point to one answer he would have presented the '68 scenes in a fashion to preclude a straight reading. Does Noodles have flashbacks within a dream? I guess it's possible but the fluidity of it suggests cinema not opium.

What does the framing device prove? It could be the basis for a dream. It could also be seen as a turning point in Noodles' life - his friends were just killed, presumably through his treachery, and he'd spend the rest of his life on the lam. Hence its centrality to the story.

The main point I'd say in favor of the Dream Theory is the sparseness of the '68 settings, with relatively few period details filled in. Even there though, a lot of things would raise eyebrows emanating from a 1930s man's imagination, opium or no. Television plays a major role in the '68 scenes - was Noodles psychic? Would he know Yesterday? If we take some scenes on a literal level (eg. the '30s car in '68) rather than cinematic why not others?

I guess we could take your approach, that a director's word is God, but that would turn this board to a recitation of facts, not a discussion. Where's the fun in that? That is a very reductive view of film discussion.

I'm sorry to deny you your beloved "straw man much?" but there's no straw man here. Chris said accused me of being willing to accept Leone's statement that it's a dream, but not willing to accept Leone's statement that there is a double meaning, a possibility of a dream. And my response was that I have clearly said all along that I am willing to accept the notion that there's a double meaning, or that the dream is intended as merely a possibility. The only position I am arguing against is those who say that the movie is not intended to have any element of fantasy. You may not be arguing in favor of that position, but if you read through these dream theory threads, there are those who do.

The song "Yesterday" is not diegetic. It is playing OVER the scene, as part of the film score; it's not playing IN the scene. So the question of how it could be playing in a 1968 scene is about as legitimate as the question of how music composed by Ennio Morricone in the 1960's could be playing in GBU, which takes place in the 1860's.

yes, a tv plays over the bar in Fat Moe's, and Bailey has closed-circuit tv's (although I wouldn't call tv "playing a major role in the '68 scenes) but on some level, there has to be dramatic license to show us 1968. If everything in 1968 looked exactly as it did in the 30's, then we would know instantly that it's all a dream, and the '68 section of the movie would be rather silly. So the movie appropriately takes some sort of license in showing us 1968 as it would look, but still drops some clues along the way, letting us know that it's a dream. Yeah, you can ask, well, how far does the "dramatic license" go? Well, I don't think you can really expect that even in a dream, 1968 would look like 1933. That would be silly.

As for your final paragraph, you seem not to have read my previous posts. You seem to be repeating your earlier comments about my views on the director's view, without reading my responses to your comments. As I said, a director is not God. However, when the director who is involved heavily in a project throughout, clearly states that the later scenes of the movie are intended to be portrayed as a possibility of  a dream, then I think we have to accept it, unless some other people who were involved in then project disagree. I mean, if you find some opposing quotes by some writers or a producer or someone like that who says that this project was not intended as a dream, well that would be fine. But as it is now, you have Leone saying it is a dream and so far as i've seen, nobody who was involved with the project saying anything to the contrary. So yes, I think we should accept that the movie means what Leone says it means. I think there is much to discuss about OUATIA even if it were accepted as a given that it's a dream. We have pages and pages of discussion about other topics. Just like we have pages and pages of discussion about many other movies that don't involve a major disagreement about a basic element of the story. I'm sorry if you think there is no fun in those discussions.

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8314

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #40 on: July 18, 2012, 06:33:13 AM »

It seems to me that we're essentially not arguing, but just going in circles about subjects we don't give a damn about.

In a nutshell: We agree that Leone intended it as a possibility of a dream (unless you believe he didn't agree with his own numerous statements to that effect, in which case I can't help you). We also agree that some people don't care about what Leone intended.

So, I am interested in what Leone intended, and you don't care much about that.

And you are interested in your own interpretation which is contradictory to Leone's, and I don't care much about that.

Well, it seems like we essentially agree in principle, but have no interest in the stuff we disagree about.

So that's that.

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #41 on: July 18, 2012, 07:01:13 AM »

Quote
So, I am interested in what Leone intended, and you don't care much about that.

Um, that's not what I or anyone else said at all. My argument is that Leone's intentions in presenting the film do not preclude alternate readings. Nor, as you seem to suggest, are said alternate analyses inherently inferior to authorial intent. The Dream Theory is a valid approach to the movie, but it's not the only one.

Again, if you're going to approach art as something objective, that can be proven with facts, then you're going about it completely the wrong way. But then you are studying law, so…

Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
moviesceleton
Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3927


The glance that makes holes in the silver screen


View Profile
« Reply #42 on: July 18, 2012, 09:37:29 AM »

well I guess that Sergio Leone and Claudia Cardinale loved to "embarrass themselves," and  "babble something fake-poetic," cuz they are just two of the people that have said basically those same words you are using. Yes, it's true. That's the point. And that was Leone's point. He made it as clear as he possibly could. I knew that, without a doubt, from Frayling's chapter on OUATIA; and reading these translated interviews with Leone that were recently posted on this thread only emphasizes it all, again and again.

You don't seem to mind embarrassing yourself in other instances, but stating the truth about Leone's intent with OUATIA wouldn't be an example of that.  Unless you somehow consider the truth to be embarrassing. All I'm trying to do is understand and discuss the truth about Leone's intentions with OUATIA. Which is sort of the things we do on these boards.
What I meant, was: I think the complex relationship of dream and reality in the movie is a subject that can't be satisfyingly addressed with words. I do believe that "cinema is always a dream and OUATIA is a film about cinema i.e. dreams" but that's about everything I can say about it - and I don't think that fully explains the dream vs. reality issue, so the truth of it (the truth of the film, not the truth about it's director's intentions) is beyond words, at least beyond my words.

The intentions of a director are interesting to discuss (and yes, sometimes my knowledge of them changes my interpretation of a film, I want it or not) but ultimately they don't change what the movie actually is. A film is not a film before it's seen by the audience, it doesn't mean anything before the audience has give meaning to the images on the screen - and I'm quite sure that's something that Leone would agree on.

Logged

"Once Upon a Time in America gets ten-minute ovation at Cannes"
chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2012, 05:16:04 AM »

woah, I have said very clearly all along that whenever I speak about the "dream theory," I am accepting either the notion that it is clearly meant to be a dream, or the notion that it is meant as a possible dream, as a double meaning; I am only rejecting the notion that it is absolutely meant to be literal with no possibility of a dream interpretation

If you accept Sergio Leone's statement that the movie was edited intentionally and carefully to provide a double reading, it follows that the views of those who believe that it is all reality are equally as important, valid and correct as those who believe that part of the movie may be a dream.

A question for the dream believers.  When you first watched the movie, did you think that part of it was a dream?  Or did you find out about the dream theory subsequently, consider that it explained some of the puzzling and unrealistic events and then choose that option?

The shooting script contains lots of additional information apart from the dialogue but there's nothing in there to suggest that part of the movie is intended as a dream.  In Oreste de Fornari's book, Sergio Leone's comment that "it is probably the first time ever that a film ends with a flashback" fits better with the reality theory.  In the same book Sergio Leone gives further details on how originally he had intended the movie to be more of a myth and fable, but with Robert De Niro playing the part of Noodles, he was able to go for a more realistic feel.
"When the producer told me he had finally managed to sign De Niro, it was as if they had told Collodi 'use a real person for Pinocchio'. It was supposed to be more of a mythic film, more a fable, but De Niro's extreme sincerity introduced a more realistic note."


« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 05:18:39 AM by chris » Logged
stanton
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2935



View Profile
« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2012, 05:40:21 AM »

If you accept Sergio Leone's statement that the movie was edited intentionally and carefully to provide a double reading, it follows that the views of those who believe that it is all reality are equally as important, valid and correct as those who believe that part of the movie may be a dream.

A question for the dream believers.  When you first watched the movie, did you think that part of it was a dream?  Or did you find out about the dream theory subsequently, consider that it explained some of the puzzling and unrealistic events and then choose that option?

The shooting script contains lots of additional information apart from the dialogue but there's nothing in there to suggest that part of the movie is intended as a dream.  In Oreste de Fornari's book, Sergio Leone's comment that "it is probably the first time ever that a film ends with a flashback" fits better with the reality theory.  In the same book Sergio Leone gives further details on how originally he had intended the movie to be more of a myth and fable, but with Robert De Niro playing the part of Noodles, he was able to go for a more realistic feel.


That's the point. I actually never had the slightest feeling that it could be only a dream. And actually nothing in it looks like a dream. Even if I ignore the simple logical argument that Noodles can't imagine in 1933 a future which looks similar to how 1968 actually looked.
The style of the 68 scenes differs not from the 33 scenes or the childhood parts.

I'm quite surprised how much Leone seems to have favoured such a dream theory, but there's nothing in the film to support it. Not even the last shot, which has a different meaning for me.

And btw OUTA is of course not the first film which ends with a flashback.

Logged

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 9 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Visit FISTFUL-OF-LEONE.COM

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.031 seconds with 19 queries.