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The Independent Critic

Kate Villanova, Walker Hare
Bob DeNatale


 "The Art of Dreaming" a Semi-Finalist at Moondance Film Festival 

Do we make things in our dreams or do they make us?

This question is at the heart of writer/director Bob DeNatale's 41-minute semi-experimental short film The Art of Dreaming, a film that centers around a young woman named Maya (Kate Villanova) whose complicated grief has interrupted her sleep, given her nightmares, and is overwhelming her life. She learns the technique of Lucid Dreaming in order to confront the Demon (Walker Hare) that is seemingly controlling her and her thoughts.

Or is it?

Maya's strange journey begins as she experiences mysterious creatures, and tricksters from her sub-conscious until that line between fantasy and reality becomes even more blurred. 

While the film sounds incredibly trippy, it's a surprisingly straightforward fantasy short based well within the human experience while also realizing that the human experience is often transcendent. It's a difficult balance that DeNatale's film for the most part captures quite nicely thanks to a disciplined and emotionally resonant performance from Villanova and a uniquely mysterious one from Walker Hare.

While I will confess to having been more than a little distracted by the costuming choice for Hare's Demon, a not so subtle weaving together of Anonymous meets V for Vendetta, Hare's performance did a nice job of keeping me from obsessing on that similarity on focusing on what was going on within his performance.

Che Broadnax's lensing offers the film a rich palette that feels both natural and oozing with mystery, while Lenny Gonzales's original music gives the film just the perfect dose of edginess. What I most appreciated about the film was DeNatale's script, which displays his own awareness of the naturalism within the mystical. As the former lead singer for the band Kill the Messenger, a former writer for Marvel Comics, and a man of many other obvious talents, it's clear that DeNatale knows how to weave together the worlds of experimental and narrative cinema into a cinematic vision all its own.

Check it out for yourself at the link listed in the credits!

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic