aliyah’s review published on Letterboxd:
looking at it now, i have a lot to thank inception for.
when i was about twelve, there was a philosophy film club at my school. there’s a chance that i hadn’t noticed it during my first year, but i am quite sure that this was the only year during which the club existed. during this time - if i remember properly - my friendship group at the time and myself were pretty much the only people that attended. we never watched full movies, and sometimes we didn’t even watch clips. one of the first films we looked at was inception. i don’t remember what we discussed about the film, but i do remember that for a short period of time, i was absolutely fascinated by it, and went home soon after to insist that i watch it. we ended up turning it off after twenty minutes, much to my dismay. to be fair though, i think, at twelve, I wasn’t quite ready for a film like inception anyway.
a couple of years later, when i was maybe fourteen of fifteen, i absolutely fell in love with time by hans zimmer. it must have been the first time i truly understood the power of music. not songs, not words, but the pure vibrations that seep beneath the skin, unaccompanied by a justification that gears it to the heart. i had never been so moved by what must have been just notes placed together on a page. just once, i took to youtube to watch the scene which the music accompanied. i didn’t know much about what it meant then, but it still managed to move me to a different universe. like a dream, i suppose, but isn’t everything?
now might be a good time to mention that i have always been remarkably interested with the world of dreams. to me, they are absolutely incredible, and i spent a significant amount of my childhood investing in journaling and interpreting my dreams. if i’m honest, it’s not the best path to go down as a ten year-old who knows very little about psychology, science, astrology, or really anything that might be of any use in this field. so, at some point, my interest simmered away for a while.
back to inception. it was just over a year ago that i watched inception for the first time, which seems insane seeing as it feels like i know the pathways of the film inside out. but, in the middle of shipping my life from one side of the world to another, i laid down in a hotel bed in dubai and watched it from start to finish in what seemed like a single breath. it was simple to label inception as my favourite film of all time, because it was the film: the film that dragged me out of reality and into an alternate place and time, the film that swallowed me entirely and wrote itself all over me. what i’m getting at is that it’s the film that made me realise that films can transform people. i credit the dark knight as what birthed my love for cinema, but i suppose inception is what drew that passion out of me to place it where i could see it.
over the last year i have rekindled my love for dreams. i know that anyone risks sounding a bit wanker-y when they say this, but in this time i have started to lucid dream, and i have once again reminded myself of the reason why i was so obsessed in the first place. our minds are such intriguing places, in the best and worst of ways. do you ever think about how (for lack of a better way of putting it) insanely cool it is to be able to craft worlds from the dips in our brains? whenever i watch inception - which isn’t actually as often as i would like - i wind up thinking about this. perhaps this is why it seems so impossibly real, and raw, despite its being moulded to fit into the thriller, action, and sci-fi genres. because sometimes, dreams are where we are most real, and this is what seems scary. it’s the part of us that can never truly be transparent.
now, i’m an aspiring filmmaker, and all i want is to forge those spaces from somewhere other than inside my head. in short, i want to paint those dreamlands and show the tears in people’s minds and lives on screen. i have inception to thank for that; i never would have dreamed a life where i might be able to achieve this.
to those of you who have reached this far - congratulations! now i’m going to speak at you for a little longer. it’s been about a week, and it’s been a long time since i’ve gone this long without watching anything. i’ll likely remove this section after a while, but i always feel like i owe an explanation - even to myself - when this happens. unfortunately, i’ve been struggling very much lately. i desperately want and need to watch more films, but this hasn’t been possible recently. this community and the following that i have gained here is so important to me, so much even though i can’t say much, i might as well say this.