12 December 2010
Once upon a time I tried to write a script based on a series of unrelated dreams. I thought it might be nice to just let them fold over each other, let some kind of extremely loose narrative structure develop organically out of whatever came of the experiment. It never got very far, but I sometimes wonder if I will ever again pick it up, try again to make something of it. I'm always tempted, curious enough to keep the idea "alive" in some far-backburner of my mind. I know it would be a sort of surreal, Buñuelian thing at best, but I always wonder.
I read that Vinterberg called this film not "apocalyptic science fiction," but "a dream," and frankly that's a more satisfying way to read this. It's too somnambulatory to work as a science fiction drama, but as a dream, it almost works -- almost. The truth is, It's All About Love is more of a cautionary example than anything else. If I ever did return to that crazy conglomeration of dreams, this might be a best-case scenario of how it might turn out. A critic called it "like Kubrick without the talent," but I'd say it's more like Lynch without cohesion, or clarity, or something -- without quite so much courage of conviction.
The story shifts its narrative direction roughly every ten to fifteen minutes exactly like a dream, and as you might expect some chapters work a lot better than others. The problem mostly lies in trying to connect each chapter to the previous in a meaningful, even if nonliteral, way. I'm frankly not sure you could. There are quite a lot of elements here that are nice (and every single shot is gorgeously photographed), but what they add up to is hard to pin down. I'm pretty sure most people would hate this film -- at best maybe call it an interesting failure. For my money, it's a fascinating piece of work that I'm glad (and frankly surprised) exists, but I don't love it, by any stretch.