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

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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's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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