Analyzing the Movie: Deja Vu (2006)

Déjà vu (translating literally as “already seen” from French) refers to the feeling that one has lived through a given present situation before. It is an occurrence in which one feels that a certain situation has unfolded before, even though that one is unable to recollect more specific details about it. The term was originally introduced by the French psychologist Émile Boirac (1851 – 1917).

The main theories describing the phenomena are the following:

According to the conventional scientific theory, the occurrence of déjà vu is due to a chemical disbalance inside the brain. The different parts of the brain have different functions. For example, one part of it deals with processing the present actuality while another one is storing all the memories. Déjà vu is said to appear when the brain is accidentally processing the currently unfolding reality through its department for memory storage. As a result, what is presently unfolding has the aftertaste of a memory and it seems to us that we know exactly what is going to happen further.

According to another hypothesis, déjà vu is due to the faster processing of information through the sight as opposed to the processing of information through consciousness.

Beyond the official scientific postulations, déjà vu is associated with the notion of ‘’precognition’’, with our memories and experiences from past lives, and with our ability for predicting the future (prophecy) – an ability that is deeply embedded within each and every one of us. Some define déjà vu as something that they have been experiencing during their state of dreaming. The roots of this assumption can be traced to the conviction that when we are in the state of sleep, our astral body experiences all kinds of different things – it wanders through unfamiliar places, it meets people that we don’t know and it experiences emotions that we are not familiar with, that we can’t accept and neither do we remember in the morning. Below you can read about the more specific variations of the déjà vu state:

Déjà vécu is something that has been ‘’already experienced’’. The experience in question is usually some mundane situation that we feel like we can foretell each small detail of. The picture, the actions or the participants in the conversation, and even their very expressions, give us the feeling as if we know in advance all about the situation in which we are.

Déjà senti refers to a state in which we feel like we have ‘’already felt’’ something – it is an internal feeling that we define as familiar, yet we are not relating it to the situation that we are currently in. In other words, we are ‘’tasting’’ some sensation that we are not supposed to derive out of the present situation that we are in.

Déjà visité refers to the ambiguous suspicion that we have already visited a given place. Perhaps sometimes when you were visiting an unfamiliar area, you’ve had the feeling as you have been there before and you can therefore navigate your way around it.

Deja rêvé is something that ‘’has already appeared in our dreams’’, while déjà entendu is something that ‘’has already been heard’’ – for example, when we have the feeling like we can predict what the person that we are talking with will say next.

One even more relatable instance – it is quite often that we have the clear idea of what it is that we want to say, yet we feel like we literally cannot find the words. When something is at the tip of our tongue, we experience the so-called presque vu – yet another variation of déjà vu.

Jamais vu is the exact opposite of the déjà vu state. It literally translates as ‘’never seen before’’, ‘’unseen’’ or ‘’unencountered’’ and it refers to the momentary inability of one to recognize faces, places and situations which one is generally familiar with, yet they appear to seem otherwise at the time being. This phenomenon usually appears out of the blue. For example, when talking with a close friend or a relative, he/she all of the sudden starts to look different. Another example – when you feel like you are losing orientation at some area that you are generally well familiar with.

The plot of Deja Vu (2006; starring Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Jim Caviezel) revolves around the themes of time travel and parallel realities. More specifically, the main motif of the plot is changing the past in order to create a better present. In the course of his investigation, the main protagonist finds himself involved in a secret project of the FBI that is able to rewind 4 days back into time. But the catch is that the observer is more than merely a passive spectator of reality – he is also actively creating it. The reality that is being witnessed can be changed by whoever is witnessing it. The objects that are being observed inside this reality can even sense the presence of the observers-creators. It turns out that there are two parallel realities unfolding – the one from the past along with the present one. The co-existence of these realities represents the infinite Here-and-Now moment inside the Source. This makes the viewer ponder some rather interesting questions such as whether we can change the past, what would be the potential consequences in the present from such change and whether if we die in this parallel reality, we would still be living in another one.

It is all a matter of choice and the possible options of choice as potential probabilities are infinitely many. Another thing illustrated by the movie is that even though the options might be endless, the final definitive choice is but only one. Moreover, it is precisely the non-repetitiveness of each choice and the illusions of alternative parallel realities that are the main aspects of the movie. Everything might be possible inside the potentiality, yet the selected experience can be only one…

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