Blue ★★★★★

What a beautiful, playful, bewitching and astute study of restlessness from cinema's premier student of the liminal space between sleep and wakefulness (if not dreams and reality). And yes, this is also about cinema, because what else gives us our conception of a sleeping state? We can sometimes achieve a kind of removed understanding of our own sleeping state, but it's cinema that allows us to see and understand it in others.

The screens being drawn seem to offer themselves up to Jenjira as tantalizing possibilities, invitations to wander. They stretch outward like the yellow brick road, towards the horizon, towards a journey. Don't like that possibility? Here, try this one. Cinema is so accommodating (and insidious) to offer any number of distractions to any number of dreamers.

But a fire is burning, a restlessness that can't shut out these invitations for the mind to wander. The placement of this fire is key, and beautifully achieved, simply, by Apichatpong. It starts as a flicker inside Jenjira, but seems to grow until the flames lick well beyond the titular blue sheets.

And the fires are burning beyond the bed too. They're not (just) the restlessness of the sleeper, but another source of light animating the screens. Because this inner fire is not just our own imagination, but also what brings cinema to life.

And then, in the magical twist of perception that makes Blue such a masterpiece, the fires are burning within the screen as well. The screens are restless too, dreaming of a screen containing the image of a sleeper, whose own inner fire dreams the screens themselves into existence. We were right to see these screens as inviting; they need us just as much as we need them.


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