Imagination is fundamental to human life. Indeed, all the ‘humanities' are manifestations of the creative instinct that finds its origin in imagination. One creative imagination communicates its images to another in an attempt to bridge the perceived space between two minds. Hillman suggests that, just as painting in the Renaissance made the imaginative leap from flat representation to spatial perspective, when deeper imaginable dimensions are achieved through the evolution of art forms, the viewer reaches “a new relation with the image and closer participation ‘in' its ‘reality' (212).” In modern times, film represents another such leap; it is a medium that augments visual art with the temporal dimension, allowing the direct projection of entire narratives into the psyche of another, by means of creating a reality that is more authentically shared between the creative mind and its audience (of other creative minds).
[...] ‘Religion has always stood for the saving power of the good object relationship,' by providing God, a Savior, and a Church to whom the anxious soul can fly for refuge and salvation (Guntrip 1956 in Wulff, 337). In this object-relations sense of the term, religion functions as a transitional object, illusory intermediate area of experience that helps throughout life to bridge inner and outer realities (Wulff, Magnolia is rife with characters who are engaged with various transitional objects during the turbulent periods in their life. Their journeys go through collective phases of intensity and of resolution, during which they release their transitional objects and develop into more mature people. [...]
[...] It must be kept in mind, however, that as film is a portrayal of myth, this interpretation is limited by the singular perspective of its author. Hillman reminds us that sin against the imagination whenever we ask an image for its meaning, requiring that images be translated into concepts And these interpretations forget too that they are themselves fantasies induced by the image, no more meaningful than the image itself The images of the film stand for themselves and do not necessarily mean what has just been ascribed to them; but as a film necessitates a viewer, this interpretation is valid as one of the many ways to access the myth put forth by the collective dream-sequence of Magnolia. [...]
[...] The characters of Magnolia lead intricately interwoven lives and experience challenges concurrently in a shared cycle of conflict and resolution whose communication is facilitated by the spatial and temporal organization of the film. The first lead character that the viewer of Magnolia meets is Frank TJ Mackey, a TV performer whose program ‘Seduce and Destroy' enjoys a cult- following in its audience of sexually frustrated men. Mackey is revered as savior by these men who cheer at his pearls of wisdom. [...]
[...] In the pit of their communal chaos, a musical sequence is initiated in which each character looks up from his or her setting and sings into the camera in his or her own voice a plaintive ballad whose words cry “It's not going to stop, so just give Directly after the surreal musical number, the rain that has drizzled in the background for the entire film clears up, and the characters begin to take control of their lives. Claudia and Jim go on a date in which they create a deep personal connection that is new to both of them: Claudia tells Jim that “people are afraid to say things that are real. [...]
[...] Stanley looks up from his books, Mackey and Earl gaze perplexedly into each other's eyes, Claudia runs crying into her mother's returning arms, and Phil, the neutral and innocent character throughout the film, voices the obvious question: are there frogs raining?” Throughout the film there have been unexplained visual references to the numbers and right before the first frog hits Jim he passes a neon sign displaying “Exodus This is the line in the Bible in which the Lord warns Pharoah: if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs.” The visual impact of thousands of raining frogs splattering across the landscape stuns the audience as much as the film characters, partly because it realizes the archetypal imagery that is latent in our collective unconsciousness due to the power this Biblical story holds in western culture. [...]
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