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8 Films About Dreams

Updated on December 2, 2014

People often dream of going to the cinema. But some people make films about dreams.

Dreams have been in the focus of some filmmakers
Dreams have been in the focus of some filmmakers | Source

Dreaming in Films

Here is a collection of films that all investigate the same territory of the human life: dreams. Trips while sleeping, dreams intruding into reality, and even strories where dreams and reality can be confused make part of this work.

Dreamscape (1984)

The film tells the story of a young psychic who discovers that he can enter others' dreams. First he only uses this gift to win money in casino and for love adventures. Then he encounters a gang that forces him to learn how to use it for healing. The film includes also the president's dreams and a strange character who kills in dreams.

The Cell (2000)

This film is about penetrating other people's dreams. To help a psychologist enter them, special technologies are used. The film is strangely beautiful, scary, surrealistic and captivating. It is a detective story and a fantastic thriller at the same time. The character played by Jennifer Lopez enters the dreams of a psychopathic person and discovers a terrible thwarted kingdom of his as well as the life story that turns a little boy into a monster. In those dreams she tries to find hints about the whereabouts of a girl that this maniac keeps prisoner before the victim is destroyed in a specially made torture machine. The film is definitely worth seeing.

Dreams by Akira Kurosawa

Filming other people's dreams can be interesting, but how about your own dreams? In 1990 great Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa filmed his own dreams. These are seven small stories related to different periods of the author's life and full of visual effects. They are not rich in dialogues but rather artistic and mesmerizing. You can discover the marriage of a fox during the rain, the reflexion about nuclear holocaust, the life inside Van Gogh's paintings.

Waking Life (2001)

Have you ever considered that your life could be a dream? If so, how can you wake up? This is the main question of the character of this masterpiece by Richard Linklater. More than just a dream, this adventure is dedicated to a personal journey through the questions that deal with the world vision. A cascade of view points is presented by different people's monologues about the meaning of life. Most of these characters that the young dreamer meets stay anonymous but their words are deep reflexions about reality, philosophy, life, people, society, time, eternity, reincarnation, evolution, human condition and what not. The animation technique used in the film creates surrealistic and psychedelic effects.

Waking Life
Waking Life

Open Your Eyes (1997)

The main character of the story had everything: women, money and talent. Even the girlfriend of his best friend Sophia couldn't resist his charm. Then one day he had a car accident. His face was deformed and even the best surgeons could not correct it. After this event strange things began to happen. His life gets better but in his dreams he often sees the girl who perished with him in the accident. Or is he really dreaming? The plot of this story served as base for the American version named "Vanilla Sky".

The Science of Sleep (2006)

This French film shows how subtle the border between dreams and reality can be. The main character's rich fantasy leads him into the world of illusions. He is surrounded by the world of his dreams and has hard time getting in touch with reality. The spectator also gets confused and at times it is hard to tell which of the two realities you see at the moment.

The Science of Sleep
The Science of Sleep

Mulholland Drive (2001)

David Lynch is known as the master of the gloomy fantasy, and this film is another proof of this. Los Angeles is the place for several strangely related stories. Two girls are the main characters of the story, and they become friends under strange circumstances. The film is not very clear, and the feeling of dreams penetrating reality doesn't quit you.

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Dreams can be nightmares, and this masterpiece of the teens' horror is dedicted to them. Freddy is a well-known copycat killer who murders his victims right in their dreams. The only way out for the poor is insomnia.

Which of the films mentioned in the hub have you watched?

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© 2014 Anna Sidorova


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    • satomko profile image

      Seth Tomko 

      4 years ago from Macon, GA

      I will echo indianreel's comment. It's a good list, but it is missing Inception.

    • ValdyrGlory profile image

      CE Patrick 

      4 years ago from Atlanta

      I will definitely revisit 'The Cell' because of this post. Thanks so much.

    • indianreel profile image


      4 years ago from London

      Wonderful hub... Where is inception by the way...


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