(First run on Alterati.)
Like in adult life, the fantasies that we invent allow us to interact with a chaotic world that is beyond our control, and often beyond our understanding. They can protect us from trauma, and serve as an intermediary between our inner world, of dreams and emotions, and an outer world.
This kind of ‘magical thinking,’ roleplaying, and fantasy is considered healthy for children. Without it, we would have a difficult time forming opinions, or indeed, cogent selves.
However, with adults, these fantasies are often considered delusions. They aren’t real, we say. But who is to say that what we experience is not real, or that something isn’t real simply because it isn’t what it appears to be? And is the line between childhood and adulthood, as it is commonly considered, the transition from fantasy to reality? Where does one begin and the other end, and what do we lose when we cross that foggy bridge?
In his movie adaptation of Tideland, Terry Gilliam brings us gracefully into the world of Jeliza-Rose, where we are forced to confront many of these difficult questions.
I am not one for a review that takes you through the progression of the plot, like a series of blow-by-blow accounts that lose all their color in the re-telling. (However if you want it, there is a decent summary of the movie on wikipedia.)
Suffice it to say that, Gilliam is a master of his craft, and he pulls absolutely no punches when dealing with the subject matter. You need no past familiarity with Gilliams work to experience this movie, you simply have to have the ability to leave all your preconceptions at the door, and actually enter Rose’s world. If you can do that, this is an incredible film, from the direction, to the acting, right down to the set design. It is quite possibly the most moving, entertaining film I’ve seen all year. If, however, you cannot do that, you are clearly an adult, and have no use for such rubbish.
Tideland by Mitch Cullin (the book).
Tideland Directed by Terry Gilliam (the DVD).