A miraculous substance with the power to enhance one’s mental abilities sounds familiar, but no, we’re not dealing with a ‘Limitless’-like film. ‘Farewell Dreams‘ is somewhat the opposite: a shattering descent into the abyss of one’s mind, a final confrontation with the darkness of one’s personality. Daniel Wolters offers an almost tactile experience that shocks and chills, projecting the demonic shadows of the unleashed subconscious onto the screen. Yet his short film doesn’t fit into the horror genre. It is rather a convulsive hyperrealism, in which the (self)destructive instincts of human nature melt into the dreamlike matter of ancestral fears. Watching such a project can be indigestible, haunting, and terrifying, in the sense that it activates the surface of the pores on the viewer’s skin. It is not simply a film that iterates certain patterns of classic gore, but a universal Bergmanesque confrontation of the human being with their shadow.


The story follows the decline of a man who, after consuming a “revolutionary” drug, loses touch with reality, leaving himself at the mercy of his irrational violent impulses. But “when you gaze into that abyss, it gazes back, and it tells you what you are made of”… And the abyss in one’s own soul can hide the most terrible revelation.


Nietzsche’s aphorism, plus a deep existentialist filiation, is felt in the subtle anatomy of the entire film. Thus, the main character becomes a “stranger” in his own world, going through a painful process of alienation, to merge completely with the darkness of his anxieties. Daniel Wolters is a director attentive to all these nuances, while adopting a well-articulated aesthetic that materializes in a hypnotic black and white cinematic poem. Constantly reconsidering the power relations between the protagonist’s outer and inner reality, his short film becomes not only a nightmare experienced with eyes wide open, but also a testament to the fragility of the psyche in the face of the monstrous revelations of human nature. ‘Farewell Dreams’ is not for every audience, but it is certainly a rewarding experience for those who have the patience, but also the honesty, to look into that abyss of their souls.


For its expressive illustration of the liminal space between reality and the inner pit of the subconscious, ‘Farewell Dreams’ was awarded with the Film of the Month distinction in the October 2023 edition of TMFF.