“In the present day, immortal 1,000-year-old Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) leads a traveling theater troupe that offers audience members a chance to go beyond reality through a magical mirror in his possession. Members of the troupe include a sleight of hand expert, Anton (Andrew Garfield), and a dwarf, Percy (Verne Troyer), Parnassus had been able to guide the imagination of others through a deal with the Devil (Waits), who now comes to collect on the arrangement, targeting the doctor’s daughter (Lily Cole). The troupe, which is joined by a mysterious outsider named Tony (portrayed by Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell), embark through parallel worlds to rescue the girl.”
Terry Gilliam’s latest film was a reflection of everything I love about the human condition. The journey of the Soul in search of dreams, through the illusions and the eternal struggle with the Devil was woven beautifully into this epic film. I am so greatful to have seen this come to life as it was nearly scrapped after the untimely death of the talented late Heath Ledger a third of the way into the films production.
May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989
Ahhh, Dali! The sound of the name alone is a magical invocation!
More than a man, he is a myth, a universe all in himself. Daring to travel to the razors edge facing over the abyss, he swan dived into the Endless Enigma, emerging from the weird depths of the subconscious to the roaring applause of millions of devoted initiates, praised for upholding the outrageous in a world where it is never enough!
An epitome of the Artist as Shaman, Dali traveled to the world in-between, a place of madness and paradox to bring us back artifacts of the journey. For what else is there in this world but to travel to the edge and return?
Dali resonates most strongly with the Magus archetype of the major arcana in the Tarot. He even painted himself as the Magician in his own alchemical deck featuring Hebrew letters on the trump cards to reference the Jewish Kabbalah. The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet synchronize with the 22 trumps of Major Arcana and the four worlds of existence with 10 stations on the Tree of Life synchronize with the four suits of the Tarot, each with 10 numbered cards.
Dali once proclaimed that “the only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.” Truly then, there was a method to his madness which was behind his hyper-real enigmatic paintings. He dubbed it the “paranoiac critical method” and it was championed by the Surrealism movement.
His method required one to enter a trance, a paranoiac delirium where perceived reality was spliced and dissected to reveal the mysterious connections between seemingly disparate archetypes existing in the subconscious mind. This technique is a superb tool to stimulate creativity for it is a net allowing one to dip deep into Dreamtime during waking life, catching the fish that will nourish, discovering hidden treasures below and even bumping into the occasional deep sea monster.
Paranoia is a “personality disorder characterized by systematic delusions.” What are our archetypes but man-made artifacts fashioned by our own delusions? As Dali wrote, “The paranoiac mechanism whereby the multiple image is released is what supplies the understanding with the key to the birth and origin of all images, the intensity of these dominating the aspect which hides the many appearances of the concrete.”