Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sleepy Time

Inception (2010) is regarded as revolutionary, state-of-the-art cinema and yet strong parallels can be found between this film and another film made more than seventy-five years ago. Peter Ibbetson (1935), a sentimental fantasy directed by Henry Hathaway, features Gary Cooper and Ann Harding as ill-fated lovers who find themselves driven apart when Cooper is sent to prison for murder. The couple comes to rely on a telekinetic link to carry on their passionate romance inside a dazzling dream world. Cooper, who finds that he can control their new surroundings, builds Harding a castle made of clouds and stardust. The world crumbles when Cooper loses his faith in the dream, but he is able to recover his faith and rebuild everything as it was before. The lovers grow old together and Harding, dying in Cooper's arms, tells Cooper that they will continue to be together in death. The couple's ideals - "death-cannot-separate-us" and "we-must-be-together-forever" - are no different than the morbidly obsessive romantic notions that are central to the plot of Inception.