Instant Dreams (2017) 1080p

Movie Poster
Instant Dreams (2017) 1080p - Movie Poster
Documentary | Drama
Frame Rate:
Run Time:
91 min
IMDB Rating:
7.5 / 10 
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Directors: Willem Baptist [Director] ,

Movie Description:
Instant Dreams brings us into the lives of Polaroid enthusiasts to create a portrait of Dr. Edwin Land, a pioneer in American technology. When Polaroid announced the end of instant film in 2008, a small group of enthusiasts bought the last operational factory in the Netherlands. Although they have the factory, a house fire destroyed all of Dr. Land's private notes, including the chemical formula behind instant film. As a result, engineer Stephen Herchen is brought in to recreate the magic behind Polaroid. Despite all of their progress, their version of the instant film is still too slow to share with the world. Meanwhile, artist Stephanie Schneider stores her last remaining Polaroid stock in a refrigerator, using them for her work in the California desert. Her primary medium is instant film, and most of her stock expired years ago. In New York, Christopher Bonanos is also running out of the Polaroid stock he needs to document the growth of his son. As the author of 'Instant: The Story...


  • Instant Dreams (2017) 1080p - Movie Scene 1
  • Instant Dreams (2017) 1080p - Movie Scene 2
  • Instant Dreams (2017) 1080p - Movie Scene 1

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This is a documentary about Polaroid instant film. Might not be so obvious, but really, it really is. Falling asleep halfway through does not diminish said proclamation. Might require several viewings (as was the case) and multiple strong coffees, but "Instant Dreams" tells (kinda) the story of the revolutionary film process (well, until digital made everything obsolete) that swept the nation, nay the world.

Telling the tale in a bizarre, seemingly unrelated forked path, this flick follows oddball folks as they expound on the virtues of not waiting a week to see their snaps, plus a love for the stupendous superiority of blurry, colour challenged shots. Folks covet their Polaroids. And now when the "back to analogue" scam, er, movement has convinced hipsters to buy vinyl records at $40 a pop, the resurgence of expensive old school photographs is a thing.

Ramping up the quirk factor, is an oddly menacing, purply hued conspiratorial style doc within this doc, about mysterious science genius and Polaroid founder Edwin H. Land. In some rare, creepy, but in a cool X-Files way footage, he basically predicts the iPhone by taking out a dark object, faking/taking a picture with it, and making a claim that it will store all your information. Edwin H. Land passed in 1991. Is this for real? Is this like the moon landing? Who knows? Not me. But clearly a full blown documentary on Edwin H. Land is deserving, if not a ninety hour PBS project by Ken Burns.

Filled with weird, psychedelic interludes (the staying awake challenge), there's a "2001: A Space Odyssey" vibe going on here. As in, there's something way bigger than physical photos at play here. Or maybe not.

I loved "Instant Dreams", all three times, perhaps for the wrong reasons, but there you have it. Snap snap snap.

Things are only truly beautiful when imperfect

After reading a lot about this documentary, I finally got to see it. Here's my take on it.

How you are going to feel about this film is going to depend on your own expectations. I got a lot out of it. I like artful movies that make you think and movies with meaningful cinematography in general.

The film is basically a poetic reflection on analog images, the human condition and how it relates to the modern world. Told via an array of characters related to preserving the Polaroid image, the story has multiple angles represented by those characters. There's the scientific point of view, the art centric view and the way we view it through history. What I found interesting is that each character comes with it's own idiosyncrasies. The scientist relies on God and poetry to help him make sense of his creation, the artist deals with her own imperfections by finding meaning in the imperfect esthetic of the Polaroid image and the history obsessed writer finds unexpected connections in the present. It's all linked through the reoccurring theme of Wabi-Sabi - a Japanese saying that states that things are only truly beautiful when imperfect. To further this point there is an actual girl from Japan in the film.

I would say what the film ultimately tries to convey is the thoughts behind the invention of the Polaroid image by examining the intentions and vision of its inventor Dr. Land and side-stepping the pop culture phenomenon what we think a Polaroid-image is. He wanted to connect humankind. The film shows us how his vision still endures and how the Polaroid image itself wasn't the point. It was a means to a greater goal. This is perfectly embodied by the Japanese girl who finds new meaning in the digital snapshots she takes, while printing (remixing) them analog. 'There are no limits on our imagination and what we can dream up in the future. It makes us human." the scientist says.

The film is about Polaroid in its most truthful essence, contextualizes it for the present day and into the future. The film is told both through narrative story and via its cinematography. There are no interviews and the narration is minimal. Makes sense to me as the documentary is about images. So is it a good movie? Yes, greatly so! While certainly it may not be for everybody, as it does require some patience and willingness from its audience. I found it very stimulating. The thought-process and planning behind it has to have been insane. That said the story itself is pretty straightforward, easy to follow and there is humor here and there to lighten the mood. Just don't expect it to be a reportage affair about all things 'fun' and 'retro cool' as Polaroid is sometimes viewed. Is it a perfect documentary? Maybe not, but then again only things that are imperfect are truly beautiful.

Solid film about the old versus the new

More a tone-poem than a traditional documentary. What lies beneath the surface of this documentary about the polaroid experience, is a story about how analog still resonates in the current age. We are all looking for tangible authentic experiences and Dr. Land once invented the perfect medium for that.
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