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In an interview, Christopher Nolan explained that he based roles of the Inception team similar to roles that are used in film making - Cobb is the director, Arthur is the producer, Ariadne is the production designer, Eames is the actor, Saito is the studio, and Fischer is the audience. Many of the main characters in the film have been given their names from deeper meanings. For example one of the most important symbols within the film are skyscrapers. The main character- Dom Cobb is named this for two reasons. Firstly his surname references Henry. N Cobb an American architect noted for designing skyscrapers, and secondly Dom’s objective in the film is to return home, Dom in many slavic languages means home.

“In trying to write a teambased creative process, I wrote the one I know,”



A Totem is an object that is used to test if the person in question is in their own reality (non-dream) and not in another person’s dream. A totem has a specially modified weight, balance, or feel in the real world but in a dream of someone who does not know they are can use the totem as a device to test whether they are in a dream or not. Dom Cobb’s totem is a spinning tratricoid top, if it continues to spin infinitely this means that he is in a dream. Arthur, who presents the idea of the totem, has a red loaded die, so that when it is rolled the die in reality will land on that side. Ariadne makes herself a totem, she chooses a bishop piece, she deliberately hollows it out to alter its weight and gravity. And Eames’s totem, although rarely mentioned within the film is a red poker chip.



“I can’t let you touch it, that would defeat the purpose. See only I know the balance and the weight of this particular loaded die. That way, when you look at your totem, you know beyond a doubt that you’re not in someone else’s dream.” - Arthur

Lucid dreaming is the conscious perception of one’s state while dreaming. In this state the dreamer may often have some degree of control over their own actions within the dream or even the characters and the environment of the dream. Hence the roles of the characters in Inception, their actions, who is there and the environment within the dream. A lucid dream is any dream during which the dreamer knows they are dreaming. The occurrence of lucid dreaming has been scientifically verified.

Nolan was inspired by lucid dreaming, the film’s characters try to embed an idea in a person’s mind without them knowing similar to Freud’s theories that the unconscious influences one’s behavior without their knowledge.

528 In Chinese history, people wrote of two vital aspects of the soul of which one is freed from the body during slumber to journey a dream realm, while the other remained in the body, although this belief and dream interpretation had been questioned since. In modern times, dreams have been seen as a connection to the unconscious mind. They range from normal and ordinary to overly surreal and bizarre. Dreams can have varying natures, such as frightening, exciting, magical, melancholic, adventurous, or sexual. Dreams can at times make a creative thought occur to the person.


“When we’re asleep we use almost all our brain. The mind continuously creates and perceives the world.” - Dom

The majority of the film takes place in interconnected dream worlds. The dream is always in a state of production, and shifts across the levels as the characters navigate it. Within the film there are many symbols, that represent connected ideas of dreaming and emphasize significant features.

When Arthur explains why he thinks implanting an idea is not possible, he says “don’t think about elephants” to make Saito think of them and thus “insert” an idea into his mind. The line is a refers to the title of a famous cognitive semantics book, by George Lakoff. The book describes conceptual framing, the use of certain words to literally insert certain ideas about a subject into the listener’s mind in a concealed way

A series of numbers keeps appearing: the number that Fischer gives Cobb/Arthur is 528491,which is the code to the saferoom in where within the final stage of dream sequence, inception can take place. The two hotel rooms used are rooms 528 and 491, the number that Eames (as a woman) gives to Fischer is 528-491, the combination to the strongroom starts with 52.This is all to reinforce the importance of the number throughout the film. In Inception, impossible objects are a feature dreaming. The Penrose stairs are incorporated into the film as an example, and are a reference to a lithograph print by the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. The print is usually called “Ascending and Descending” or “The Infinite Staircase”, March 1960; Escher is wellknown for his drawings exploring optical illusions and real architectural, mathematical, and philosophical principles rendered in fantastical ways.


INCEPTION Research Book 2  

Finished digital layout, missing page is the front cover, which is on a dark blue stock with red foil maze.

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