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Waking Life (2001)

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Coming Out at 19 October 2001 in theaters

Animation, Drama, Fantasy

Waking Life is experimental philosophical adult animated docufiction film directed by Richard Linklater. The film explores a wide range of philosophical issues, including the nature of reality, dreams and lucid dreams, consciousness, the meaning of life, free will, and existentialism. It is centered on a young man who wanders through a succession of dream-like realities wherein he encounters a series of individuals who engage in insightful philosophical discussions.

The film was entirely rotoscoped, although it was shot using digital video of live actors with a team of artists drawing stylized lines and colors over each frame with computers, rather than being filmed and traced onto cels on a lightbox. The film contains several parallels to Linklater’s 1991 film Slacker. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise their characters from Before Sunrise in one scene. Waking Life premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.

An unnamed young man lives an ethereal existence that lacks transitions between everyday events and eventually progresses toward an existential crisis. He observes quietly but later participates actively in philosophical discussions involving other characters—ranging from quirky scholars and artists to everyday restaurant-goers and friends—about such issues as metaphysics, free will, social philosophy, and the meaning of life. Other scenes do not even include the protagonist’s presence, but rather, focus on a random isolated person, a group of people, or a couple engaging in such topics from a disembodied perspective. Along the way, the film also touches upon existentialism, situationist politics, posthumanity, the film theory of André Bazin, and lucid dreaming, and makes references to various celebrated intellectual and literary figures by name.

Director: Richard Linklater

Writer: Richard Linklater

Stars: Ethan Hawke, Trevor Jack Brooks, Lorelei Linklater, Wiley Wiggins, Bill Wise, Julie Delpy

Cast:

Trevor Jack BrooksYoung Boy Playing Paper Game
Lorelei LinklaterYoung Girl Playing Paper Game
Wiley WigginsMain Character
Glover GillAccordion Player
Lara HicksViolin Player
Ames AsbellViola Player
Leigh MahoneyViola Player
Sara NelsonCello Player
Jeanine AttawayPiano Player
Erik GrosticBass Player
Bill WiseBoat Car Guy
Robert C. SolomonPhilosophy Professor
Kim KrizanSelf
Eamonn HealyShape-Shifting Man
J.C. ShakespeareBurning Man
Ethan HawkeJesse
Julie DelpyCeline
Charles GunningAngry Man in Jail
David SosaSelf
Alex JonesMan in Car with P.A.
Otto HofmannSelf
Aklilu GebrewoldSelf
Carol DawsonCoffee Shop Chatter
Lisa MooreCoffee Shop Chatter
Steve FitchChimpanzee
Louis MackeySelf
Alex NixonMan Writing a Novel at the Bar
Violet NicholsWoman Talking to the Novel Writer
Steven PrinceMan Talking to the Bartender
Ken WebsterBartender
Mary McBayWoman on TV
Kregg A. FooteMan on TV
Jason T. HodgeMan with the Long Hair
Guy ForsythSelf
John ChristensenGuy Talking about Turning the Light on in Dreams
Caveh ZahediSelf
David JewellMan Talking to Caveh
Adam GoldbergOne of Four Men
Nicky KattOne of Four Men
Jason LiebrechtOne of Four Men
Brent GreenOne of Four Men
RC WhittakerMan on the Lamppost
Hymie SamuelsonMr. Debord
David MartínezMan on the Train
Ryan PowerYoung Disappearing Guy
Tiana HuxSoap Opera Woman
Timothy ‘Speed’ Levitch
Steve BrudniakGoatee Man
Marta BandaFriendly Girl
Steven SoderberghInterviewed on Television
Charles MurdockOld Man
Mona Lee FultzQuiet Woman at Restaurant
Edith MannixOlder Artist in the Park
Bess CoxOld Woman Sitting for a Portrait
Louis BlackKierkegaard Disciple
Richard LinklaterPinball Playing Man / Man on Back of Boat

Sources: imdb & wikipedia

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