Short Film Profile

The Undream

Tom hasn’t slept for a very long time. Whilst normally shy, his insomnia has led him to totally withdraw within himself. Tom exists in two worlds. In the waking world he is the quiet, socially awkward office worker, bullied by his boss Greg, and secretly longing after Poppy, the girl of his (nonexistent) dreams. By night, whilst everyone else sleeps, Tom walks aimlessly around the deserted town. Alone he’s most comfortable; the quiet helps him think. Although recently Tom can’t help but feel there’s someone else out there. But things are beginning to crumble in Tom’s world. Poppy has announced that she is leaving, and worse for Tom and his OCD mania, his precious red cup has gone missing. Tom’s life is unravelling, his daytime and nighttime worlds are beginning to blur. Tom is losing his grip on reality and someone or something is messing with his head.

Film notes

The UnDream is the dark, quiet story of a man fighting with his UnDreams.

The UnDream was an opportunity for me to focus on creating a visually intriguing landscape that reflected the unsettled nature of Tom’s unconscious mind. On reading the script, it was clear to me very quickly, that with its engagement with insomnia, and the incessant babbling of Tom’s inner monologue, Surrealist art could be used a source of inspiration. Even the description of The UnDream brought to mind Magritte’s Man In a Bowler Hat.
Although as an audience we hear Tom’s surface inner ramblings (a kind of preconscious), his own relationship with his unconscious mind is ambiguous and confused. This ambiguity is something I wanted the audience to feel. Waking dreams brought on by Tom’s sleeplessness seemed to satisfy this concept: there is a definite blurring of objective reality and subjective experience. I also used the technique of creating re- imaginings of Magritte’s work in the film, sometimes in the form of waking dreams, sometimes as part of what appears to be objective reality (Tom’s bedroom) to enhance the ambiguity. This intertextuality brings symbolic richness without, I hope, interfering with the narrative or requiring an audience to know Magritte’s work.
The unconscious mind can be a frightening place and it was important that the locations reflected this. Whilst the film was shot in London, the script called for a sense of alienating otherness, at once quiet, and at the same time full of strangeness: a kind of nowhere land. To make this film we needed to find some of the little known corners of the city: disproportioned, uncontextualised and eerily threatening to reflect Tom’s delusional reality.
There is another side to the film though. At the heart of the unconscious unease is the all-consuming power of romantic desire. The darkly comic ramblings the uncomfortable, the social faux pas, and even the banal silliness of office life provide light relief and ultimately there




Copyright © 2013 Tag Films / Bumpy Road Films

Previous screenings

Newport International Film Festival | 2013
10 Oct – 12 Oct | Newport, United Kingdom

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 11 Oct 2013