Saturday, April 20, 2019

Existentialism in film and television - summary



The French director Jean Genet's 1950 fantasy-erotic film Un chant d'amour shows two inmates in solitary cells whose only contact is through a hole in their cell wall, who are spied on by the prison warden. Reviewer James Travers calls the film a, "...visual poem evoking homosexual desire and existentialist suffering," which "... conveys the bleakness of an existence in a godless universe with painful believability"; he calls it "... probably the most effective fusion of existentialist philosophy and cinema." Stanley Kubrick's 1957 anti-war film Paths of Glory "illustrates, and even illuminates...existentialism" by examining the "necessary absurdity of the human condition" and the "horror of war". The film tells the story of a fictional World War I French army regiment ordered to attack an impregnable German stronghold; when the attack fails, three soldiers are chosen at random, court-martialed by a "kangaroo court", and executed by firing squad. The film examines existentialist ethics, such as the issue of whether objectivity is possible and the "problem of authenticity".Neon Genesis Evangelion, commonly referred to as Evangelion or Eva, is a Japanese science-fiction animation series created by the anime studio Gainax and was both directed and written by Hideaki Anno. Existential themes of individuality, consciousness, freedom, choice, and responsibility are heavily relied upon throughout the entire series, particularly through the philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre and Søren Kierkegaard. Episode 16's title, "The Sickness Unto Death, And…" (死に至る病、そして Shi ni itaru yamai, soshite) is a reference to Kierkegaard's book, The Sickness Unto Death. On the lighter side, the British comedy troupe Monty Python have explored existentialist themes throughout their works, from many of the sketches in their original television show, Monty Python's Flying Circus, to their 1983 film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. [57] Some contemporary films dealing with existentialist issues include Fight Club, I ♥ Huckabees, Waking Life, The Matrix, Ordinary People, and Life in a Day.  Likewise, films throughout the 20th century such as The Seventh Seal, Ikiru, Taxi Driver, High Noon, Easy Rider, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, A Clockwork Orange, Groundhog Day, Apocalypse Now, Badlands, and Blade Runner also have existentialist qualities. The film, The Matrix, has been compared with another movie, Dark City where the issues of identity and reality are raised. In Dark City, the inhabitants of the city are situated in a world controlled by demiurges, much like the prisoners in Plato's cave, in which prisoners see a world of shadows reflected onto a cave wall, rather than the world as it actually is. Notable directors known for their existentialist films include Ingmar Bergman, François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni, Akira Kurosawa, Terrence Malick, Stanley Kubrick, Andrei Tarkovsky, Hideaki Anno, Wes Anderson, and Woody Allen. Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York focuses on the protagonist's desire to find existential meaning. Similarly, in Kurosawa's Red Beard, the protagonist's experiences as an intern in a rural health clinic in Japan lead him to an existential crisis whereby he questions his reason for being. This, in turn, leads him to a better understanding of humanity.


Recommended books on Existentialism:

  

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