Quickie Review: Instant Dreams

Did you ever have a Polaroid camera or loved that instantaneous thrill of having the image appear in your hands? The Polaroid camera was a marvel and this quirky doc clues you in to how truly amazing it was as it charts the history from its invention to its demise. It also takes three (and a half) people and explores their connections to the film: a man trying to recreate the film after Polaroid officially folded and the formula for the film went with it, a photographer still using a hoard of the out of date film, and an author who wrote a book about all about Polaroid. And while some of it is interesting, the pieces don’t really add up to a whole. And if you are at all into photography you know that there is instant film available today. It’s an art for art’s sake film in a lot of ways.

The photographer is a German woman who shoots things like nude models in bathtubs in the desert. The author is fond of taking photos of people at parties and imparting wisdom to his young son. And the scientist who once worked for Polaroid is on the quest of a lifetime, since the formula is the most complex thing anyone ever created in history. Or so he says. We’re reminded several times of the ubiquity of the digital image (a 4th story line), but there is never really a through thread linking all these stories. I was a great lover of the Polaroid and even took a workshop with one of the most famous Polaroid artists, Lucas Samaras, so maybe I was expecting more from this film. If you loved instant photography, you may want to see it, but only as a streaming aside. Mostly Instant Dreams reminded me that I still have that Polaroid camera at home and maybe I should get some of that new, not as good as the original film, and try it out.

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