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Call For Dreams

Tags: Drama, Noir, Thriller, Mystery, Surreal

Synopsis: In rainy Tokyo, Eko complicates her life by publishing a 'Call for Dreams' ad in a Tokyo newspaper. With her scooter she visits strangers in an alienating city, who leave descriptions of their strange dreams and fantasies on her analog answering machine and for a fee acts them out. As the dreams slowly seep into reality and a parallel police investigation of a murder in Tel Aviv unfolds, what is real and what is not is getting harder to distinguish.

Ran Slavin is a unique voice in the auteur-director driven Israeli independent cinema. Filmmaker, international video artist & electronic musician, his unconventional approach to filmmaking stems from a unique and captivating visual language, with work often highlighting future informed threshold situations, magical reality and virtuality in urban situations. His films, sound work and video installations often utilize layered atmospheres which highlight detailed cinematic processes. Selected screenings include Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Energa-Camerimage Film Festival Poland, Haifa International Film Festival, Shanghai International Film Festival, Ficci The International Film Festival Colombia, Pesaro Film Festival Italy, Torino Film Festival Italy, Hors Piste Film Festival at Pompidou Center Paris, Winterthur Film Festival Switzerland, Utopia Film Festival Israel.

Directors Statement
Call For Dreams began life as a need for new cinematic form. I had the idea to ask people and strangers on social networks to send me their dreams as a starting point and inspiration for a long drama fiction with a kaleidoscopic narrative. I wanted to make a film that merged my favorite themes of mystery, noir, fantasy, existential philosophy and bold new asian cinema perspectives, a meta film that out-folds on the edges. A thriller - noir tinged film, but not in the way you would expect it to be. I wanted to distance myself from convention, and create a personal cinema, a film that is as enticing and exhilarating as a film I would hope and expect to see. Evasive and immersive. While the film is mostly happening in Tokyo nights in the rainy season, most of it was shot in Tel Aviv during the summer. In fact it is a sort of Japanese fantasy. Production budget would not allow me to set the production in Tokyo so instead I constructed Tokyo in Tel Aviv with set design and digital post-production and visited Tokyo for a short period to film exteriors and outdoor shots myself.

Quote (59th Ficci The International Film Festival of Cartagena De Indias, Colombia 2019) "Is the dreamer dreaming the dream or is the dream dreaming the dreamer? More than a disturbing message left on the answering machine of an Israeli detective, the beginning of the film is almost a statement of principles. Like dreams, this explicitly oneiric film plays with chronology and mixes up people and places. It is night in a Tokyo dwarfed by neon lights. It is raining. Eko has placed an ad in the paper looking for people willing to tell her about their dreams, so she can stage a performance of sorts with those who have had the strangest ones. The home "therapy" she offers takes her into the entrails of a visually magnetic city, transformed into a different character every day. Meanwhile, the detective investigates and dreams. Or does he dream he is investigating? We live the reality we choose to live. We have the ability to transform, or in some cases deform our memories so we can live with them. The realm of dreams, with its illogic logic, is suited to philosophy and fertile ground for creating images of hypnotic beauty, like the unforgettable atmospheres of this film".

"A Psychologically Disruptive Masterpiece"
A review on Amazon Prime
With its darkly rich and nocturnal color palate, and its incorporation of Tokyo's most spectral man-made monoliths, the remarkable and shockingly immersive "Call For Dreams" is a rare sensory mindscape in which the lines between the conscious and unconscious are very intentionally and disruptively obliterated. This isn't so much a traditional three-act film as it is a visually and sonically-induced psychological attack of the most subversive and surrealist kind, and one that probably should be accompanied by a warning label -- it's no hyperbole to state that allowing one's self to become enveloped in "Call For Dreams" plays on the head in a way that takes a full day to shake as we re-acclimate to life's more grounded, pedestrian normalcies.
Eko (Mami Shimazaki) is a creature of the night. Her downtown Tokyo is one in which the blackest blacks collide with radiating neons soaked by relentless assaults of rain. On one darkly glowing evening, Eko rings up a Tokyo newspaper to place a vague yet alluring ad: "Call For Dreams" is its enticing directive. Soon, Tokyo's dream-afflicted are leaving messages on her tape-based answering machine in which they recount their recurring nightscapes. Eko's provided service is dream reenactment: Like a call girl minus the provision of sex, she travels by scooter to appointments. At one location, a man has repeatedly dreamed of shooting a woman with four bullets; elsewhere, a woman has dreamed herself as a passenger on a plane consumed by a visceral fog. Shimazaki quietly conjures an elite performance: Like a call girl, Eko is at once submissive -- a subject to the defined parameters of a given client's dream. Yet she's also commanding in her wordless leadership of their reenactments; a window through which her clients seek an awakened understanding of their own unconscious experiences. As we watch it all unfold, director Ran Slavin without clear announcement dissolves the sinewy connective tissue between wakened realities and the dream state itself. It's an insidious and shifting line that melts completely as Eko's reenactments submerge into the watercolors of a murder investigation in far-off Tel Aviv: The insinuation is that she's triggered some ethereal crossing of the threshold between the dreams she reenacts and our connected, consciously-lived world.
Very intentionally, Slavin avoids chiseled conclusions and the neat gift-wrapping of plot payouts in "Call For Dreams." Its ambition forbids it, as it aspires instead to install a portal between two states of consciousness, and with a door that swings both ways. This is a truly unique and aspirational film, drenched in gorgeous atmospherics, and it's ultimately one to be digested with careful intent. "Does the dreamer dream the dream, or does the dream dream the dreamer?"

Forest Forest

Film info
Countries: Israel, Japan
Duration: 81 minutes
Languages: Japanese, English, Hebrew
Available subtitles: English, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish
Director, writer: Ran Slavin
Producer: Ronen Ben Tal Plan B Productions
Excutive Producers: Ran Slavin, Tomer Almagor
Associate producer: Merav Ktorza
Cinematography: Maayan Blech, Yuri Gershberg, Neil Cohen, Ran Slavin
Key Cast: Mami Shimazaki, Yehezkel Lazarov, Yuval Robichek, Oleg Levin, Olga Kurkulina
Production: Plan B Productions in association with Nocturnal Rainbow Films
Distribution: Indie Rights


34th Haifa International Film Festival, official selection, Israeli premier, 2018
22nd POFF Black Nights Film Festival, "Rebels With a Cause Competition" International Premier, Tallinn - Estonia 2018
26th Camerimage Film Festival, official selection "Directors Debut & Cinematographers Debut Competitions", Poland 2018
4th Utopia Film Festival, official selection (winner best film) Israel 2018
13th Ecu The European Independent Film Festival (winner best actress) 2018
17th Cinema South International Film Festival, Israel 2018
Academy nomination (Ophir Awards) for best production design, Israel 2018
59th Ficci, official selection, The International Film Festival of Cartagena De Indias, Cartagena, Colombia 2019
22nd Shanghai International Film Festival 2019 (market)
1st Oltre lo Specchio, official selection, - Through the Looking Glass International Film Festival Milano 2019
7th Asian Film Festival Barcelona, Official Panorama Section, 2019
23rd UK Jewish Film Festival, London 2019
17th Mindanao Film Festival, Philippines 2019
9th Nunes International Film Festival, Barcelona 2019
7th Cine Kasimanwa, The western Visayas Film Festival, Philippines 2019
9th AVIFF Cannes Art Film Festival, France 2020 (winner online award)
16th ADAF Athens Digital Arts Festival, Greece 2020
7th The Ficlapaz, La Paz International Film Festival, Bolivia (winner best narrative feature) 2020
3rd UAF Urban Audio-Visual Film Festival, Lisbon 2020
10th Cinefantasy International Fantastic Film Festival Sao Paulo Brazil 2020
The Dreamers of Dreamers Film Festival, UK (winner best feature) 2020
Ravenna Nightmare Film Festival, Italy 2021
Deep Focus Film Festival, Brooklyn, NY (Honorable mention) 2021
Lift Off Film Festival, London 2021

Ran Slavin, filmography
Call For Dreams (2018)
The Insomniac City Cycles (2009)

Videoography (click here)

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Ran Slavin
Director & writer / Nocturnal Rainbow Films

Excerpts of comments

"A Psychologically Disruptive Masterpiece"
Very intentionally, Slavin avoids chiseled conclusions and the neat gift-wrapping of plot payouts in "Call For Dreams." Its ambition forbids it, as it aspires instead to install a portal between two states of consciousness, and with a door that swings both ways. This is a truly unique and aspirational film, drenched in gorgeous atmospherics, and it's ultimately one to be digested with careful intent. "Does the dreamer dream the dream, or does the dream dream the dreamer?"
Review on Amazon by The All-Seeing I VINE VOICE

The winner for this jury is Call For Dreams directed by Ran Slavin. A film that develops a rich structure of themes, a complex narrative between science fiction and video art and also a reflection about the nature of reality. Jury members Angel Sala Corbi, Spain, Director of the SITGES Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantastic de Catalunya Pedro Souto, Portugal, Director of the Lisbon International Horror Film Festival, MOTELX at - Utopia Film Festival Tel Aviv best film award.

It's easy to do a "Lynchian" film or a confusing film, but it's very difficult to do it while still finding a balance between reality and dreams and not just doing random things to confuse the audience without a purpose. This film in my opinion manages to do just that, it's unsettling, it's of course confusing and thought-provoking and yet there's something real seemingly going on, but it's just not (thankfully) easy to see what's real and what's the dream. Review by arman0612 @ letterboxd.com

When Andrei Tarkovsky sought a futuristic urban location for his film "Solaris," he found Tokyo, and photographed the scenes of long journeys between bridges, tunnels and interchanges. Nearly 40 years have passed since then, and those bridges and interchanges still look out of this world. Now they star in "A Call to Dreams," a futuristic film by Israeli artist Ran Slavin, which is screened at the cinematheques across Israel. "Call to Dreams" is a surreal, spectacular and enigmatic film, a kaleidoscope of lights and shapes. At its center is a woman advertising an ad looking for volunteers to tell her dreams. One of them is a police detective who also investigates the heroine. There is not one shot in this film that is not impressive and Slavin is also responsible for the soundtrack, which helps to heighten the David Lynch atmosphere. Yair Raveh, Calcalist Magazine

Slavin's work is laden with a dim atmosphere and warns of the alienation of individuals who supposedly have everything, including reflections of themselves, but are in fact lonely and craving human warmth. This is a film that should be approached with an open mind and then surrender unconditionally to its charm. "Call to Dreams" is much more than a routine film. I look forward to Slavin's next work.- Ron Fogel, Film Critic at seret.co.il

Among the highlight of the Israeli film program will be Ran Slavin's Call For Dreams. The film is a noir/psychological thriller about a Japanese woman in Tokyo who places a newspaper ad asking for the details of others dreams, which leads to more trouble than she bargained for, until she needs an Israeli detective to help her figure things out. - Hannah Brown, The Jerusalem Post

Director Ran Slavin leads the viewer into the limbo of dreams. The film is mystical, mysterious and experimental. The film is kind of a dream trip in the city of Tokyo.
- Le Cinemad, Olivier H.

You have not seen an Israeli film like this one directed by the film maker & artist Ran Slavin. -Avi Pitchon, Haaretz Magazine

Is the dreamer dreaming the dream? Or is the dream dreaming the dreamer? Ran Slavin's new film "Call for Dreams" is a glance into our deepest journey, a Neo-Noir thriller that will leave you asking for more. - Eyal De Leew, The Tel Avivan Magazine

Thank you! Gaspar Noe and David Lynch are in danger. - Viewers comments

Even after many scenes in the film, I am still stunned by the way Ran actually created inside Tel Aviv a neon-noir fantasy of Tokyo and the delicacy in which he sends into the city's liminal spaces random characters who wish to express their dreams as part of their difficult desire to experience themselves in the story of their lives. - Viewers comments

Just watched your AMAZING film. Really love it, great idea about the calls for dreams, intriguing and interesting story, incredible atmosphere, beautifully shot, lots of creativity, congrats, you did a really unique film, and I was really happy to watch it.




"Dream-life can serve to reanimate a world that has been flattened by dark times. Dreams are a crucial resource for regaining a measure of freedom in our thought and speech, serving as a vital landscape to recover our fundamental human capacity to assign meaning to the world". -Dreaming In Dark Times, Sharon Sliwinski