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Essay on Reality in Richard Linklater's Film "Waking Life"

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Richard Linklaters film Waking Life gives a new meaning and view to Hollywood films. As one of the first of its kind the film forces the viewer to distinguish between appearance and reality. Linklater brought to his film an extreme amount of uniqueness not only with the complexity of the film but with the interesting influence of animation in the work. In the film there is a constant reference to “dreams” that leaves in question: can dreams in a sense be considered reality. The term reality in the media world is very flexible as far as what can and cannot be considered reality. For example, take the hit reality series Survivor. The show like any other television show or movie is filmed with the same equipment and produced on a screen, so what sets the show apart from other shows and gives it the right to be considered reality? Medium that is considered reality lacks a script created by the director. Reality as many believe it to be is “something that exists independently of all other things and from which all other things derive.” With that said, Linklater is trying to show that reality cannot exist within media due to the several alterations it takes to produce the film. With the use of a man who is stuck in his dreams and the use of animation Linklater successfully demonstrates reality in the media world is really just an animated dream. In addition to providing explanations to the many misconstrued interpretations of reality in media, Linklater also uses Waking Life to show how media leaves a lot of room for interpretations in comparison to narrative.
When watching the film Waking Life it is important for the viewer to notice the different elements and tactics which Linklater uses to get his point across. For example, tak...


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All in all, Linklater manages to display through the film Waking Life all the controversy surrounding idexicality and reality. With the title alone he demonstrates the presences of false presentation and lack of reality. Focusing on just the title alone the viewer may become confused and intrigued. How is it possible to wake life? Is life not already awakened? These are some of the questions that the title makes the viewer ponder over. “At its birth, the cinema’s most striking characteristic was, in fact, its indexicality, commented upon in countless newspaper and magazine articles that heralded the new technology’s ability to capture time and movement—what invariably went by the term life itself.” (Doane 129) The media world has become so quickly fascinated with being able to capture time and movement that they quickly portray media as “reality”.





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