Planet Earth: Dreams

Written by veteran avant-garde theater writer and director Richard Foremen, this experimental narrative follows a young woman as she drifts through a series of interlocking dreams. Agatha (musician Cynthia Hopkins, of alt-country band Gloria Deluxe) falls asleep in her car and later meets her husband, Maurice, at a bar for a séance. During the séance she...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Written by veteran avant-garde theater writer and director Richard Foremen, this experimental narrative follows a young woman as she drifts through a series of interlocking dreams. Agatha (musician Cynthia Hopkins, of alt-country band Gloria Deluxe) falls asleep in her car and later meets her husband, Maurice, at a bar for a séance. During the séance she falls asleep again, and wakes up unable to feel her legs. Or is she still dreaming? Perhaps that's why she's dressed like Freud's famous patient Anna O., who suffered hysterical paralysis. One dream leads to another: Agatha gives a press conference about poetry from a wheelchair and is treated by mad Dr. Wanton (Ryan Holsopple), who straps her into a set of electrified metal braces he says will allow her to walk... but hasn't she already had a dream about clomping around in those very braces, like a pert little Frankenstein's monster? Agatha wakes up to find Maurice photographing her; he has a whole album of pictures of Agatha curled up in bed, though whether she's sleeping or not is a matter for some debate. Maurice receives a mysterious invitation by special delivery, and together he and Agatha meet eccentric Dr. Hunicutt (Tim McGee), who claims to be a space traveler and later drugs Agatha and teleports her to a bar on planet Earth, which doesn't seem quite like the Earth Agatha remembers. She awakes in her own bed to find that she's been asleep for more than a week and Maurice has taken up with slutty, bra-and-panty clad Dr. Wanda (Justine Priestley). And so it goes. Each time Agatha wakes up, her waking reality reveals itself as yet another dream until she finally surrenders to the dreamworld's associative logic and spatial elasticity; the film opens and closes on a stunning shot of her sleeping face, pale and beatific. Handsomely assembled by director-cinematographer-editor-producer D.J. Mendel, the film has a tone that veers between truly dreamlike surreality and the sort of juvenile pretension that curses so many student films. But Hopkins, who also composed the film's original music, is a charismatic presence. A slightly plump gamine whose face could have adorned a Victorian cameo and whose spirited sense of adventure is thoroughly modern, Hopkins possesses a Candide-like equanimity in the face of bizarre happenstance that is thoroughly charming and keeps the story's excesses from becoming exasperating.

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Written by veteran avant-garde theater writer and director Richard Foremen, this experimental narrative follows a young woman as she drifts through a series of interlocking dreams. Agatha (musician Cynthia Hopkins, of alt-country band Gloria Deluxe) falls… (more)

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