DAVI.IN’s Dream/Life hits on a theme that is relatable to many of us…and by many of us, I mean me in particular. His short film opens with a title card stating that the filmmaker had initially set out to make the “most awesome” travel documentary ever. Instead, it became something completely different.
Dream/Life is a mixed-media journal of DAVI.IN’s journey to create said documentary. That’s the best way I can describe it. Each chapter of that journal is presented in various visual styles. The first chapter about fear is a third-person account of DAVI.IN breaking his comfortable routine and wrestling with his self-induced fear of taking a step off his city block. The chapter is shot with an omniscient narrator on commentary.
The next chapter is his first-person account confronting his limitations…mostly about life, but specifically about this project. The chapter becomes a giant list of things to accomplish—all with the intent of checking things off the list before the paralysis of fear sets in. At one point, DAVI.IN begins journaling whatever comes into his mind to unleash his creativity, and that’s how this chapter feels at times.
“…set out to make the ‘most awesome’ travel documentary ever. Instead, it became something completely different.”
As DAVI.IN takes his first step into exploring new locales, he hooks up with a group of friends who happily agree to travel with him. The account of that adventure and the dissolution of the group is recounted as a heart-breaking stick figure animation. Soon, DAVI.IN’s journey takes off in some unexpected directions with unexpected results.
I’ve been there. I’ve laid in my bed for hours, stared at my screen, and thought about creating the coolest whatever of all time, only to have “life” stand in the way. I’ve struggled over the irrational fear of starting something…anything and then stop everything as I figure out in my mind how to overcome my limitations at shortcomings. My life has been summed up in a 20-minute short film, which seems appropriate.
As much as I related to DAVI.IN’s subject matter, watching Dream/Life requires work, which to me, is often a negative…not that I don’t appreciate doing work. You’ve got to be fully engaged with zero distractions right from the start, or you’ll get lost. I found myself rewinding several times in the beginning to make sure I didn’t miss or misunderstand anything. It often happens when the goals or point of a story is not clearly stated, or you’re intentionally trying to subvert expectations. This can often lead to viewer frustration and disengagement. One can rewind at home, but not in a theater.
Dream/Life is essentially a journal of this adventure that soon-to-be creatives all experience and DAVI.IN does a fantastic job expressing those anxiety-ridden A.D.D.-like feelings and putting them to film and create a story with it. What you see is just as important as what’s being said.
"…a journal of this adventure that soon-to-be creatives all experience..."