Youth Without Youth takes us through a strange loop that demands us both cognitively and visually to ask similar questions about love, memory, and death. The film begins with the familiar image of an anxiety-ridden intellectual who, failing (or finally succeeding?) to fall asleep, enters a dreamlike state that eventually, at the end of the film, culminates in his death. The loop effect is heightened by the film’s frequent use of canted angles, flipped images, deep color contrast, and haunting chants in ancient tongues that leaves us constantly wondering where and when the dream begins and reality ends. [...]Read the rest of The butterfly’s unconscious.
Juhn Y. Ahn is Assistant Professor of Buddhist and Korean Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Culture at the University of Michigan. His main areas of interest are Buddhism in East Asia, Zen reading practices, and the history of medicine and the body. In addition to his work on these subjects, he is currently preparing a book-length study on Zen illness for publication.