Waking Life

‘Waking Life’ is an animated philosophical drama film released in 2001, directed by Richard Linklater. The movie follows a young man who finds himself in a series of surreal and philosophical encounters while trapped in a dream-state. As he navigates through these experiences, he meets various characters who engage him in discussions about the nature of reality, consciousness, dreams, free will, and the meaning of life.

The film is notable for its unique animation style, called ‘rotoscoping,’ where live action footage is traced over frame by frame to create a surreal and visually captivating effect. This technique contributes to the dream-like atmosphere of the film, creating a liminal effect throughout the film. 

The series of vignettes featuring both real and fictional characters are fast paced. The first of which features Timothy ‘Speed’ Levitch. Levitch born 1970, is a tour guide, poet, and public speaker known for an eccentric speaking style. Levitch’s unconventional approach to tour guiding in New York City featured poetic and philosophical musings. It garnered him a dedicated following which eventually led to a documentary feature in ‘The Cruise’. 

Levitch is able to effectively deliver a dense, yet accessible three minute monologue The seasoned tour guide is able to effortlessly reference Lorca, Dostoevsky, Mann, Giacometti and Lorca again. Levitch challenges the viewer to consider such questions as whether life is a dream and if we can both live life and understand it simultaneously.

“On really romantic evenings of self, I go salsa dancing with my confusion” Timothy ‘Speed’ Levitch, 2001. 

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