Sanctuary Dream

An Autism Simulation Movie

I ran into this while searching for authentic-looking movies dealing with autism. Sanctuary Dream is as authentic as it gets. Written and produced by Grant Carsten, a young man who is himself autistic, it thematizes domestic violence and homelessness, and attempts to simulate the way autistic people experience the world. This is achieved through unusual visual and sound effects, as well as the purposefully chopped-up narration.

The movie follows the journey of Faisal, an autistic teen, who flees from home and his abusive family in search of the Peace House, the titular dream sanctuary, where he could at last feel safe. Both the content and the presentation are raw, dissonant and disturbing, but the story ends on a hopeful note. Faisal finds the Peace House where one would least expect it at that point — in the company and kindness of well-meaning, open-minded people; and manages to connect with them through his interest in music and poetry.

For an indie production with a very modest budget, Sanctuary Dream is an amazing achievement. I enjoyed the soundtrack and the beautiful photography, and I was impressed by the performance of the lead actor, Traven Thomas, who was impeccable. I invite you to read the many thoughtful and overwhelmingly positive reviews on the Sanctuary Dream website, and visit its Facebook page for more info and some juicy behind-the-scenes morsels.

The movie can be purchased on Vimeo.

Musical Inspiration

I’m not often moved to write about music but this thing has been a relentless obsession for so many days now, it’s hard to imagine existence without it. I try not to binge on it, and only allow myself to hear it a couple times a day, but even so, it haunts me all the time.

It’s splendid, just splendid. I know nothing about how this kind of music is made and what makes one piece better than another, apart from my own taste. What I like about this one is the richness and diversity of all the little themes, how patiently they are introduced and layered one on top of the other, and how well they work together to evoke in me a sense of distant sadness, far-away places, or cherished memories. Not necessarily joyful, nor painful, but life-changing. And ahead, striving for lofty heights beyond reach, grateful for every step of the climb. It’s such a rush.

Wish They Left the Stars Out of Star Trek: Discovery

I’ve seen about half the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. It’s riddled with stupid plot-twists, unlikable characters who behave nonsensically and bad design decisions. But among all these legitimate things to complain about, none annoyed me as much as their stars.

Continue reading Wish They Left the Stars Out of Star Trek: Discovery

The Music of Dragon Age: Inquisition

I got this game in preoder, but haven’t finished it yet; I started and quit the single player campaign twice (for reasons that are out of scope of this post), and mostly just played the multiplayer. But I feel compelled to speak about something I studied in detail nevertheless: its music. What follows is a somewhat extensive, but by no means exhaustive review; the entire soundtrack (without DLC) has some 40 tracks, all of them excellent to varying degrees, but these are the ones I come back to over and over again:

Continue reading The Music of Dragon Age: Inquisition

Interstellar

How long has it been since I last saw a sci-fi movie with more sci than fi that I actually liked? I can think of a few I didn’t like, namely Gravity (2013) and Sunshine (2007), but the closest thing to fit the above description would have to be Contact (1997). So it was about time something like Interstellar finally happened. In a word, it’s awesome. Everything, from the unforgiving plot and intelligent characters, over the stunning visuals and a magnificent soundtrack, to the scientific background, exceeded my expectations. I have seen it twice and enjoyed it to bits both times. 10 out 10, would definitely watch again.

Continue reading Interstellar