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September 7, 2010

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'Inception' sparks a dreamy debate

LONG before Sigmund Freud, people have been keen on deciphering dreams. And now a new wave of curiosity, triggered by a Hollywood flick that combines dreams and science fiction, is sweeping through locals, especially the young, on Internet message boards and in offices.

They are discussing the film and its fictional plots about human dreams.

Director Christopher Nolan's "Inception" has not only stormed the box office since its local release last week, but has also sparked people's curiosity for and fever in deciphering dreams.

Local netizens have been sharing their reviews of the film on social networking websites, exchanging views about the film and giving their interpretation about dreams.

Some professional movie critics and psychologists said the main reason for the film's popularity is that people want to free themselves from the stresses of daily life and are seeking to understand themselves in-depth by learning more about dreams.

"In the mysterious dream state created by the director, white-collar workers manage to escape from the fast pace of life in reality, even if it is just for two hours," said Li Tian, a veteran TV and film reviewer.

Crystal Rong, an IT worker, was initially attracted by the movie trailer since very few films combine dreams and reality in such a dramatic way.

"Going to the movie was just like entering a fantastic dream state," Rong said. "Dreams and reality collide in the visual sequences. Some dream sequences are very familiar to me. Just like the protagonists, I used to dream of falling from high places or being chased."

"People dream every day but so far there is still not a systematic knowledge structure to explain dreams," said Professor Zhang Zhenyu, a veteran psychologist.

Despite the frenzy, some remain critical of the movie: they found the film was rather tepid because it lacked suspense.

Since the movie's China release last Wednesday, Shanghai United Cinema Lines, the city's largest cinema chain, has raked in more than 13 million yuan (US$1.91 million) in ticket sales to date, one of the top performing Hollywood movies of this year.

A lot of movie fans, both domestic and foreign, are queuing up for the film.

"The overwhelming response from the viewers has set my expectations even higher," said Lisa Watson, an overseas student learning Chinese language at a local university. "I cannot wait to see it with my friend."

Yonghua Cinema, in the downtown Xujiahui area, said attendance for the movie over the past weekend was up to more than 90 percent.


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