Studio: British Film Institute
Length: 80 mins
Released: 31 July 2006
Cat No: BFIVD659
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Dreams That Money Can Buy
Dadaist painter and film-maker Hans Richter was the guiding force behind this surreal feature in which a young man, Joe, discovers that... Read More
Produced, written and directed by Hans Richter, and with dream sequences contributed by Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Fernand Leger and Alexander Calder, this is a real curiosity. Although put together for very little over three years in a Manhattan loft, Dreams… went on to win a special award at the Venice Film Festival for the best original contribution to the progress of cinematography.
The set-up is that Joe is a dreamseller with a roomful of people waiting to have their dreams unlocked. A closet art-lover gets a sequence from Ernst based on his Une Semaine de Bonté, an uptight woman gets Leger's dream of a girl with a pre-fabricated heart, and a gangster who wants a tip for the Derby gets Duchamp's Rotoreliefs and his Nude Descending a Staircase to the music of John Cage, which prompts him to dump Joe in a cupboard.
The 'surrealism' may now look a little quaint, but seeing the artists and their art - Calder's 'Circus', a sinister Big-Brother-before-he-existed close-up of Man Ray's eyes on the wall, among them - is a rare treat.
Still with surrealism, another legendary example of the medium makes a belated (but equally welcome) appearance. Richter, the Berlin-born filmmaker (and Dadaist) brought together some of the century's most important surrealist artists and created this delirious and dreamlike film. A new soundtrack and copious extras make the package even more attractive.