Paracosm

A married man seeks an enigmatic woman he believes he has met in the past.

Genre: Drama

Length: 22:35

Free To View

4 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Ekrem Doydu, Panos Panakos

Director/s : Bahadır Karasu, 

Writer/s : Bahadır Karasu, 

Actor/s : Mesut Dalkılıç, Defne Bölükbaşıoğlu

 

Wake up and dream

How to approach Turkish director Bahadir Karasu’s effective but unconventional film? One way is to try to piece together the story from clues scattered across its 22 impressionistic minutes. Another is to indulge in the filmmaking.

There is a story here, but forensically determining its detail is probably a fool’s errand. It’d be interesting to compare this screenplay with the original story by Australian Louise Lee Mei, who deserves a mention.

Clearly it takes place in a Brave New World where the soma is the drug Paracosm (slogan “wake up and dream”). Seems you can choose, or create, your dream under Paracosm, and bring someone into it as you’d make a video call. Mesul is hooked.

Most of the film is flashback. He took the drug to dream of, or to create, a perfect woman. Or is Esther a lost love? It may even be that he can bring her to life, or back to life, in reality. Or in a world that exists, Inception-style, inside his dream. Or possibly hers. Whichever, his protestations to his wife that he wasn’t being unfaithful aren’t strictly true.

Re-watching pays dividends in terms of the filming as well as exploring the story. Look at Esther’s vampirish black irises in the “real” world. Consider the unnatural yellow/blue colour palette here, and the ochre/teal of Mesul’s daily world, the reds of the office, the rainbow-fringed shapes of the dreamworld, the drone shot. Admire the acting. Listen to the evocative music by Panos Panakos.

Film is the most realistic of artforms, and it’s also the one that comes closest to matching a dream state. There’s an opening Nietzsche quote about our most real dream being the dream that we are awake. It’s a paradox that this non-linear, dreamstate/wakefulness-switching piece exploits to the full.