Today: May 28, 2024

Surreal & Dream-Like Films

The luxurious and surrealist LAST YEAR IN MARIENBAD (1961) follows an unnamed sophisticate (Giorgio Albertazzi) who attempts to persuade a married woman (Delphine Seyrig) that just last year they were romantically involved and planned to elope together. The woman has no recollection of said encounter and begins to question her memory and reality itself. Throughout her quest for the truth, time and space move fluidly, with no certainty over what she is remembering and what she is imagining. To deliberate the complexity of Last Year In Marienbad, releasing on DVD, Blu-ray & digital download on 17th September, we’ve turned to all the surreal and dream-like films that make us question our own realities.

Vanilla Sky (2001)
Visions that lead a man to insanity while inside a lucid dream. An egocentric publishing mogul (Tom Cruise) has his whole life derailed when he finds himself in a car accident with an ex-lover (Cameron Diaz).  The film’s dream-like cinematography takes you on a confusing journey with the many clues and references left along the way as the character slowly loses his grasp on reality.

Lost Highway (1997)
In David Lynch’s enthralling neo-noir film, jazz saxophonist Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) becomes paranoid after he and his wife (Patricia Arquette) begin receiving horrifying VHS tapes of them in their home. Fred is then framed for the murder of his wife and sent to prison, where he is plagued by bizarre headaches and visions, disappears and is replaced by a young mechanic, beginning a different life.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Stanley Kubrick’s last film before his untimely death is a puzzle to many. The plot follows a doctor from New York City (Tom Cruise) who goes on a night-long odyssey of erotic encounters when he finds out his wife (Nicole Kidman) planned to cheat on him. The paranoia and surrealism of the film have viewers wondering what really was going on behind closed doors.

Blade Runner(1982)
The visual influence of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece has only grown over the last 35 years. Set in the dystopian future of Los Angeles, the film follows a burnt-out cop (Harrison Ford) who reluctantly takes the title of Blade Runner and must terminate a fugitive group of synthetic humans.

Black Swan (2010)
A prestigious New York City dance company requires a versatile dancer for their production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet. Nina (Natalie Portman) competes vigorously for the part as the Swan but when the pressure becomes overwhelming, she finds herself struggling to maintain her sanity.

Requiem For A Dream (2000)
This psychological drama follows four people’s desperation to feed their drug addictions. The film portrays the experience of heroin and other drugs effortlessly, plunging you into a dark fantasy. When reality eventually catches up, each character falls into their own imprisonment of delusion, leaving them lifeless and damaged.

Inception (2010)
Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece intrigues and pushes the boundaries of your mind. You can never be sure what the relationship between dream time and real time is. The film takes you through a process that fights through enveloping sheets of reality and dream, reality within dreams, and dreams without reality.


Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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