Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Surrealist painter and Dada film-theorist Hans Richter wrote, produced, and directed the experimental exercise Dreams That Money Can Buy, one of the most significant contributions to the 20th-century "avant garde" movement. The project began in 1944, while Richter was director of the Institute of Film Techniques at City College in New York. Combining short scenarios written by such world-renowned artists as Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamps, Man Ray, Alexander Calder and Fernand Leger, Richter came up with a full-color, feature-length study in dreamlike "wish fulfillment." The film's only nod to continuity is the presence of a self-styled heavenly psychiatrist, whose patients purportedly visualize the images which play across the screen. Described by one observer as "surreal yet somewhat Jungian," Dreams That Money Can Buy cost $25,000 and was three years in the making (Richter liked to take his time: his later Dadascope took five years!) Its New York premiere was greeted with a mixture of bravos and bewilderment, especially when the projectionist elected to show the film on the wall and ceiling rather than the screen. One assumes that the projectionist was less capricious when Dreams That Money Can Buy won a special prize at the 1947 Venice Film Festival.
group-therapy, slice-of-life, dream