Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dream, After Dream (Yume, Yume No Ato): A Movie Mystery


What is Dream, After Dream?

This is one of the more compelling movie mysteries I've come across in a while. Yume, Yume No Ato is a Japanese feature film from 1981. The movie is notable in that it features an awesome soundtrack composed by Journey during the height of their fame. According to the New York Times website, it is a fantasy feature and runs 101 minutes:

"In this fantasy tale that aspires to the effects of a dreaming state, a young man (Enrico Tricarico) starts off on a quest for happiness, heading south as a wise astrologer told him to do. He has a few mishaps along the way through a mix of scenery, but finally arrives at an ancient castle where two mysterious women live - Tsuki (Anicee Alvina) meaning "Moon," and Yuki (Anne Consigny), meaning "Snow." Both women fall in love with the young man, a literally transforming experience that causes them to start running around and flapping their arms and growing feathers - it turns out they are really birds and true love has freed them at last. Meanwhile, the young man has to face his destiny and after the avian extravaganza, he may have some cause for worry."

And that's it, and I don't just mean for that website. I'm practically talking about the entire internet. A Google search reveals no posters, screenshots, or similar images aside from the Journey album cover. IMDB has zero user reviews and an eerily quiet forum section, icheckmovies.com lists the film but features no users who have even claimed to see the film, and YouTube features no clips from the movie. No home video release appears to have been put out. The film's soundtrack, though composed by one of the most famous acts of the 1980s, isn't even available in the US. Amazon.com lists the soundtrack as an import, apparently of Japanese origin. The official Journey website is even more vague with regards to the film, basically saying that it's a Japanese film with the same title as the album.

So, my question is... what is this movie!?! Okay, I take that back. I have way more questions. Why is it so hard to come across? Is it any good? How did Journey get involved with the soundtrack? Why is that so hard to get a hold of in America? It's Journey, for crying out loud! They hold the record for the best selling song on iTunes, and no one knows about the movie they composed an entire album for. Even if a popular band gets involved with a train wreck of a project, those things aren't forgotten. At best, it would make for 80s talk show comedy fodder, and, at worst, a sarcastic Internet reviewer or two would have posted a linear riff-review of the movie by now. You'd think the same technology that can conjure up a cologne commercial directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi and starring Charles Bronson could at least give me something to go on. But no... All seems silent in the digital realm.

On the one hand, I have to wonder if the movie's even worth watching, since it seems no one remembers it. On the other hand, judging by that short synopsis, it almost sounds like a sort of stream of consciousness, Black Moon kind of movie. If that's the case, it might be really awesome, and it might also explain why the movie is so forgotten and overshadowed by the soundtrack... A wide audience coming to see a film with Journey's name attached to it would probably be alienated by such an unusual, artsy movie. But I'm just speculating now. If anyone has any information on this film, please share! Even a copy of the liner notes for the album would be welcome, as I can't find that online either. In the meantime, the music isn't too hard to come across, and it is really awesome!



UPDATE:


After some digging around, I was able to find a single image related to the film. It appears to be a theatrical poster or promotional pamphlet (possibly included as an insert in the Journey album?). Again, any information related to this image or its origin would be appreciated.

UPDATE 2:

Thanks to Lionel over on the Facebook page, I was able to get a hold of some honest-to-goodness pictures from the production and apparently pre-production of the film! These are from a French film site, which I'm guessing is the reason why I wasn't able to find them with a Google Image search using the movie's English or Japanese titles.

Lionel informed me that the black-and-white image is actually from a dress-fitting/rehearsal and not from the filming itself

Some additional research on the film's crew showed that Dream After Dream was the sole film directed by famed Japanese fashion designer Kenzo (the gentleman with the glasses in the above pictures), based on a screenplay by him and an enigmatic individual named Xavier De Castella. Kenzo is a pretty well-respected fixture in Japanese fashion, so tracking him down was pretty easy. However, I still can't definitively find out who the other screenwriter is. I was able to find a single picture of him on a blog being quite friendly with Paloma Picasso, so, judging by that blog's content and Paloma Picasso's presence, I can only assume Mr. De Castella is another fashion designer. The mystery deepens...

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Visit to the Museum of the Moving Image

Back in 2011, I went on a field trip while attending the Delaware College of Art and Design.  This field trip was to Astoria in Queens, over in New York City, to see the Museum of the Moving Image.  The museum covers anything that has to do with moving art, from installation pieces to the movies.  The latter was what brought us there.  On view was an ongoing exhibit called Behind the Screen which covered motion pictures in all aspects of it's history, from zoetropes to television.  Needless to say, I had my trusty camera on hand and took plenty of pictures from the spectacular exhibit:


Above are Technicolor (left) and Mitchell (right) cameras.  The Mitchell had the film running horizontally past the aperture, since it was used to shoot films in "Vista Vision", this gave a bit more detail to images.  Hitchcock used this for many of his films later in his career.  The Technicolor camera used three separate strips of color film, exposed simultaneously using a prism to get images with unbridled hues.