Four Nights of a Dreamer

Four Nights of a Dreamer ★★★★½

A rumination on solitude, detachment, the corrosive idealism of one submerged within his own illusions. He is the dreamer of Dostoyevsky’s White Nights, a wandering soul, frittering his days and years in the tomb of his mind’s fantasies. Slumbering within the sanctum of his dreams, he renounces reality. But it is a reluctant kind of sacrifice, something which slides into being without any true volition. 

The days dribble by with a ritualistic recurrence: he walks, he mutters into his recording device - his thoughts, his dreams - and he paints—smears of red, black and blue shaping an eternally faceless figure. This vision is unattainable, a perpetual ideal, a vision of meaning, ambition, of love, perhaps. He recites his dreams of a distant lover, as though an incantation, a sanctification of his torments. But, in giving himself wholly to his dreams, he spurs a rupture within the self. 

I see people in turmoil and rage, while my dream becomes flat and boring. Then I realise that all that was so dear to me never existed. 

To revere one’s dreams, to orbit them, to nurture and live within them—only for the rough edges of reality to intrude once more. For the dreamer, life, people, the eternal thrumming of the world, rushes by—voices shout and whisper, but no matter the volume, it seems as though they are forever underwater. There is a vague awareness of movement, of progression, some preordained expectation to move and act and grow. A perception which swarms outside, an external phenomenon, one which is perpetually smudged and dwarfed by the bright hues of the mind’s fantasies. 

You hear, you see, men living in reality; you see that life for them is not forbidden, that their life does not float away like a dream, like a vision...

But for Jacques, he inhabits an eternally frail existence—upon the threshold between reality and delusion, he balances. And he is strung by some melancholic chimera of love, of Marthe, a woman who, herself, is tormented by doubts and loneliness. The two trade dreams and troubles beneath the eternally youthful night. Flares of street music, the sharp ring of a guitar, punctuate their solitude—for though they are together, each is enshrouded within their own hand-crafted visions. 

[For a much needed dose of Dostoyevsky: 

And in vain does the dreamer rummage about in his old dreams, as though seeking a spark among the embers, to fan them into flame, to warm his chilled blood by the rekindled fire, and to rouse up in it again all that he held so dear before, all that touched his heart, that set his blood boiling, drew tears from his eyes, and so luxuriously deceived him!]

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