'The Psychology of Dream Analysis': An Early Short Film From the Director of 'Looper'

Rian Johnson's scrappy, low-budget film tells the captivating story of a young woman who has been having someone else's dreams. 

Shot in 2002, Rian Johnson's scrappy, low-budget film tells the captivating story of a young woman who has been having someone else's dreams. Constructed from simple elements, the film skips dialogue in favor of wry voiceover narration and takes place in a couple everyday locations: a magazine shop, a café, a bedroom. The standard definition video (ripped from a DVD copy) is not much to look at, but it packs a punch, raising interesting philosophical questions about identity, love, and the nature of dreams. 

Ivan Kander's review at Short of the Week ponders the masterful storytelling that makes Johnson's films successful: "It’s a testament to Johnson’s skill that the entire film feels so breezy — this is more Being John Malkovich than Inception."  The filmmaker went on to write and direct Brick, a neo-noir thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with a total budget under $500,000. This debut won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at Sundance in 2005. His latest film, Looper, is a Hollywood action movie starring Bruce Willis and Gordon-Levitt, made for $30 million. With three features to his name now, Johnson's career arc is the stuff that indie filmmakers' dreams are made of. 

For more videos from Rian Johnson, see his Vimeo channel

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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