7.5/10
54
2 user 2 critic

Dreaming by Numbers (2006)

In the narrow streets of Naples a lottery parlour has been run by one family for a few generations. Each and every customer has their favourite numbers and theories as to what brings good luck and how to interpret dreams using numbers.

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Giuseppe Imbucci ...
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Salvatore Marra ...
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Angela Nioli ...
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Maria Nioli ...
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In the narrow streets of Naples a lottery parlour has been run by one family for a few generations. Each and every customer has their favourite numbers and theories as to what brings good luck and how to interpret dreams using numbers.

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17 February 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brojevi za snove  »

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(PAL)
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a fine look at the odd places we find comfort and hope
28 February 2007 | by (Conway, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

One woman plays the birthdays of her dead children. Another woman plays numbers passed down from her mother and her mother before her: we see a wooden box stuffed with curling wedding photos and mementos mori, including ancient hand-written lottery tickets. A wealthy intellectual says "Through the poor I learned about the lottery. The lottery is not an innocent game. The lottery has a system and ambition: to interpret the world." He makes several claims about Pythagoras and Kabbala and the antiquity of Naples' civilization. The black & white cinematography does* create a timeless quality, such that I am all but blind to shiny new cars in the background as this ancient numerology articulates itself. But many film-goers may find it easier to view Italian poverty and Italian eccentrics in these shades, creating a sort of nostalgia for more artfully shot fictions. I can see people getting frustrated with the interludes, full of establishing shots providing a deep sense of the Neapolitan funk. Our intellectual tells us that Naples is steeped in pain and deprivation, and these superstitions provide a comfort more visceral than bourgeois savings accounts can provide.

There are overtones of the confessional as people step up to the glass and translate events or hopes into numbers they wish to play that week. The images of dreams are translated into numbers. Dreamers are frustrated when an image is too surreal to translate smoothly, and the ticket vendors try to elicit the dream-emotions an image evoked: anything to find a meaningful reference to a number they can sell you. A mammoth transsexual runs a bawdy bingo/keno parlor calling out numbers and creative translations of the associated imagery: "78: Good news, my husband has died! 38: I do a striptease. 21: I am incredibly feminine!" There is the theological question of playing numbers derived from tragedies and disasters. There is an abiding faith that if you can recognize the serendipity of a lucky number when it appears on a license plate (be it in a newspaper photo or a delivery van that all but runs you down), or select the relevant items from your dreams or biography, you can change your fate. With no future and nothing desirable in your past, you live in the present. A sacred ceremony rescues one believer every week.


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