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PostSubject: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:47 am

I have certain favorite movies that i consider to be very thought provoking and interesting or realistic, and they are few and far between given the vacuity of the action and theatrical animations that are monopolizing cinema as the years pass.

Like books, movies may serve as intellectual stimulus as long as the substance is there. It's all about substance when it comes to finding worth in such forms of entertainment as movies.

In any case, i'd like to share some of my favorite movies that i find valuable for their realism and connotations of the human condition or society.

You may post links from the scenes of your favorite movies or other depictions of them and offer your views about them, or you may just simply discuss them and what they are about.


I'll start with one of my favorite movies: "American Beauty".









American Beauty is a wonderful drama of the post-modern lifestyle of automated behavior and instinct suppression. In a manufactured world, the family structure is affected by the goal-oriented alliance with success, as success is virtually the equivalent to independence and freedom by the standard of western capitalist constitution. family members become strangers to one another and become detached by this medium of thoughtlessness and disregard for personal love of one another.

The tragedy is that they wish to love but have become disabled in their ability to express it by these environments of "self independence", therefore, it becomes the product of hostile or violent conflict in order to keep the bond of love or familial stability together.

In other words, comfort breeds conflict for balance.

This scene is particularly good to display the need for their own humanity underneath the well manicured mannerisms and the toleration of belittlement from one another.


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:18 am

Yes, what a wonderful scene.

I actually collect movie clips, like this, of outstanding performances.

A depiction of how people become trapped in these social structures and their spirit is stunted and forced to endure in isolation and misery.

Conflict is but the stress that comes about when one is so repressed.

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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:55 am


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:55 am

This is more of a documentary, But I find it very appealing.



Solitude, self-sufficiency, an environment uncluttered by human detritus.

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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:12 pm


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:40 pm


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:09 pm


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:29 pm


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:23 pm

My favoriiite ^___^
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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:40 pm

Σατυρ wrote:

Fight Club has to be one of my top three favorites. I love it.

It is a stark movie about anarcho-primitive destruction through what i would call "natural politics". Tyler Durden, whom is Jack's alter ego, exploits the emotive sedation of modern men through the outlet of combat.

This cathartic stimulation of the "Fight Club" works by providing a sense of worth and belonging for something higher than themselves and this is the key for assembling a revolutionary army. Give them a purpose.

Not to mention the interesting psychological aspect of creating an alternate identity as a result of extreme loneliness and deep discontent. And than making it into a strength.
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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:55 pm

Σατυρ wrote:

Excellent. Twisted Evil

The mindless yet omnipotent force of capitalism. Human determination as an absolute.
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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:01 pm

Ascetic wrote:

Excellent. Twisted Evil

The mindless yet omnipotent force of capitalism. Human determination as an absolute.
More than that: a weakness adapting to circusmtnaces, taking advantage of the stronger ones creativity, and exploiting his work.
Parasitical.


Ascetic wrote:
Not to mention the interesting psychological aspect of creating an alternate identity as a result of extreme loneliness and deep discontent. And than making it into a strength.
Yes, but also an underlying irony, related to Nietzsche Wander metaphor:

The men "freed" essentially become his minions.
They simply change allegiance.

Meaning: There can only be one male entity, all others fall behind as followers or challengers in waiting.
The herd is never dissolved it only changes leadership or ideals or values.

The loneliness of freedom and of power - synonyms - and also its unusual production of indifference.

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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:09 pm


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:22 pm




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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:29 pm



Occult flavors.




Natalie's dilemma.

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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:48 pm

Another movie i like a lot is "No Country for Old Men".

Although it doesn't have much dialogue, it is one of the most realistic movies i have had the fortune to find. It is a drama of cold reality and circumstances.

In this scene this man named Chigurh, is a menacing and dangerous personification of death. he has no emotion, Only principles and a need to achieve his goals.

I enjoy how he attempts to integrate some sense of worth in people that he find beneath him, like he does in this scene:








And this next one is very realistic.

No intervention, no Gods, No happy endings, no feel good anything.... Just the battle of two men trying to kill one another and strive for different goals.

The universe cares nothing.

They way their instinctual feelings and reactions are portrayed and captured are incredible. they are amazing actors.




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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:04 pm


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:14 pm







The Departed.


Hierarchy dynamics.
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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:22 pm



Human spirit, so weak and still so strong in its purity, soaring over these bleak landscapes, turning them into fields of alabaster gold.

What magical powers you posses; your imagination finding crevices to creep through this prosaic world; turning the moment into a testament of your parting pains.

I salute you.

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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:39 pm

Training day.

How the strong exploits the weak for personal gain.

But the theme of the movie is also how the strong underestimate the strong.


Feeding bullshit and pep talk and hype only goes so far, before either the weak stay weak or they wake up to their strength.

Denzel's character's downfall was exactly this.










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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:07 pm

Boiler Room.

All about capitalism and conformity.
















This next scene is a personal experience of my own.
I have worked in phone sales and done exactly what he is doing.
It is some of the most degrading and mindless work you can do aside from possibly working as a janitor.


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:37 am


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:43 pm

Good scene Apaosha. Full of raw emotion.


I like the modern Romeo and Juliet.

The plot is simple, based off of Shakespeare's play of course, but the performances are just spectacular.

The end portion of this clip when Romeo kills Tybalt is especially powerful.



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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:59 pm

Σατυρ wrote:


I've been meaning to return to this one. The Matrix of course being one of the greatest of all time.

aside from its meanings of mind control, there is one other interesting idea about consciousness it alludes to.

This scene is when the architect explains the purpose of the system and the construction of the oracle as a balancing opposite to implement choice into the human psyche for a more harmonious simulation of the human world.

Agent smith was also described by the oracle to Neo as being his opposite, his "negative" in the need for absolution and for Neo as its counter-balance.

The consciousness of a sentient artificial machine echos the consequences of it in the same way as the human machine.

The irony is very great: The ability to make a choice and to reap the consequences of that choice resulted in the machines evolving into the same destructive pattern of human civilization.
Agent Smith given his sentient capacity, made the choice to function away from his intended purpose of his program and to envelop with need and without regard sowing devastation that harmed the Matrix. And this is how the machines discover their own folly for consciousness. They become their own enemy through the desire for self-actualization.
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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:43 am


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:05 pm

Ascetic wrote:
Another movie i like a lot is "No Country for Old Men".

Although it doesn't have much dialogue, it is one of the most realistic movies i have had the fortune to find. It is a drama of cold reality and circumstances.

In this scene this man named Chigurh, is a menacing and dangerous personification of death. he has no emotion, Only principles and a need to achieve his goals.

I enjoy how he attempts to integrate some sense of worth in people that he find beneath him, like he does in this scene:
I love that movie and I love that scene, all scene's with Javier Bardem's character in them. He does have emotions, however. You can see he gets pissed off by the guys curiousity combined with his noting of his plates. This kind of busybodiness is a threat to the character - people with this trait are better witnesses, in fact may be active witnesses not just people who respond better when the police come around. But it is also the kind of busybodiness that is a threat to creative or different people. This watching from porches and through windows what neighbors are doing. The noting this down and passing it around coupled often with clucking tongues and whispers to police or preachers.

Here a psychopath - albeit a very interesting one - is the recipient of this pathetic curiosity - so it is not a bad trait here. But we get to watch it dismantled by this death like figure in a way that is pleasurable and also horrifying. This creature would find fault in all of us, mortal fault.


I was really glad the Coen Brothers toned down their silly irony in this movie. There is irony of course, but not so much in a kind of charicatures they often use.

I think it is their best film.

Don't get me wrong. I loved Burn after Reading for example and the characters are very silly and utterly swimming in irony all the time. I just think this would have ruined McCarthy's novel into film.
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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:25 pm

I have no scenes from it available (aside from trailers and reviews), but "The Grey", which came out this year, has some key aspects I'd like to touch on:

Spoiler:
 
[/i]

There's way more that I haven't included, but I believe I've summarized the highlights as best as I could.
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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Thu May 23, 2013 5:17 pm

Saw the new Star Trek today.

Moral of the story:
No matter how genetically superior you are, you will be defeated and frozen....because mediocrity wins, with sheer numbers and moral force.

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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Fri May 24, 2013 2:08 am

That would explain why the movie "Arlington Road" was so underrated and unpopular with hollywood.
It premiered in theaters, but ended up on the video store shelf fairly quickly. I'm not sure if you have
seen it, so i will refrain from commenting on it. When I saw this, I thought of what baudrillard wrote on
terrorism - an excess of signs and commodities blinds people from symbolic acts, such as terrorism.
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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Fri May 24, 2013 7:39 am

I didn't see Arlington Road.

Popular culture is all about diffusion internal pressures: repressed, self, sex, masculinity.
Once in a while it makes a "smart movie" for the more select crowd, the ones not so easy dealt with by making them watch explosions, gratuitous sex scenes, machismo hyper-masculine exhibitions and so on.

With these movies they air the doubts and concerns of the more sophisticated type.
But they do it so that the individual feels like some kind of resolution did occur by the time he exists the movie - this is why we get the Hollywood ending, such as the one in Shawshank Redemption and Hannibal and The Matrix, and Fight Club - and the movie, if it is crafty, begins with the skepticism, the challenge, and then slowly returns the audience back to the shared, common cultural themes: unconditional love, unity, tolerance, compassion, goodness always wins, equality, etc.

Star trek was just simplistic eye-candy; two hours of escapism into a future, Utopian Federation, still confronted by those nasty evil-doers, the terrorists.
They just happen to be superior, genetically engineered, individuals, but always lose the fight.


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Sun May 26, 2013 9:21 am

The thing about superiority and fights is that they are always about odds. As Sun Tzu said, even the greatest warrior can win only 9 fights out of ten.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-OxxSp-VJw

Element of surprise is also the thing to consider. No one is superior enough to avoid it.

I haven't watched the newest Star Trek, but what I remember from 2009 Star Trek is that the odds of defeating the main enemy flagship, who was much more superior, were even given, mentioned at some point in the movie. In other words, main characters were simply very very lucky.
This tendency is visible in most action movies. Creators put the main characters in the border between dying and surviving, because that is what audience wants to see. The Star Trek wouldn't be popular if main heroes would have died and the rest of the movie would be about enemy owning everything on it's way. No resistance. No thrill for the viewers.


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Sun May 26, 2013 11:30 am

I saw the new Hangover movie on Friday. Americans seem to think that exaggerated obscenity constitutes humour. Bruno and Your Highness from a few years ago were the same.

The premise again is that the bearded retard guy causes chaos for his friends through well-intentioned misadventure, which was believable in the first film but came across as deliberately malicious in the second and especially the third. Thus the situation becomes a group of normal, functional, capable people being obliged to suffer and endure an oblivious retard who routinely fucks up their lives - very tolerant, very inclusive. Perfectly reflective of the modern age.
The rationale is that "we will be taking care of him for the rest of our lives; he has no one else." Pity is the cross they perish on.

The latest one though is not even really a comedy. It's more of a dark exploration of distorted caricatures of the original line of characters. The retard becomes cruel and uses his stupidity deliberately to torture and bludgeon the other characters; the dentist, who pulled out his own tooth in the first film and was sodomised by a transvestive in the second, is this time constantly bullied by the retard and is eventually given breast implants by him.

The movie is not about these characters though. The focus shifts to the homosexual chinese man, Chou, who becomes the main character. He is a deranged hedonist, who exists, in addition to the retard, to act as an instigator and a source for the torture of the other characters. He is a depressed, nihilist who finds an escape in drug-fuelled extremity and an amusement in hurting, degrading and humiliating others.
This is also played for laughs.

I was describing the movie to someone yesterday who hadn't seen it and I came up with the comparison of it to Trainspotting, which is also a dark portrayal of the consequences of excessive drug use. But whereas that is definitely supposed to be a depressing film, the Hangover is the same premise but portrayed as humour. An inversion.

I left the theater not amused or uplifted, but disgusted, angry and repelled.

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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Sun May 26, 2013 7:05 pm

A portrayal of modern masculinity, then?

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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:44 am

Blade Runner.


Quote :
"Oscillating between Abulafia’s mystical creature and Loews’ monstrosity, Blade Runner forms a definitive exploration of the psychological contradictions of golem making as well as a fascinating analysis of our postmodern propensity to loathe machines we love. Roy Batty, the film’s golem, is designed to transcend matter but imprisoned in a material system. He oscillates between gnostic savior and gothic ter- ror, Adam unfallen and Adam alienated.

The film’s kabbalistic magus is Tyrell, a technological genius who manufactures androids known as Replicants. In crafting these mecha- nisms, Tyrell fulfills his greedy desires but also rectifies the errors of fallen matter—ugliness and stupidity, decay and fear. To these ends, he develops the Nexus 6, an android indiscernible from human beings. Though Tyrell develops this machine to serve as a slave to human wants, he nonetheless imbues this artifice with superhuman grace and intelli- gence. A Nexus 6, Roy is keenly aware of his slave status but is also con- scious of his superiority over humans.

Caught between Tyrell, seemingly a human unhindered by fate, and Roy, ostensibly an automaton who cannot enjoy freedom, is Deckard. Deckard is an “everyman” standing proxy for those in the movie audi- ence trapped between determinism and liberation. His name recalls Descartes, who argued that men and women are machines and souls at the same time. Deckard appears to be human. As a bounty hunter of Replicants, he specializes in discerning between organisms and machines. He administers to suspected Replicants a test (the Voight- Kampf) designed to reveal emotional deficiencies. He recognizes rene- gade Replicants and shoots them. But Deckard also exhibits mechanistic behaviors. His Zombie-like character displays no emotion. His life is a predictable grind: he kills Replicants; he drinks whisky to dull his guilt; he kills Replicants again; he drinks some more.

Deckard’s ambiguous condition is highlighted when he meets Rachael, Tyrell’s latest Replicant model. Hired by the police to hunt and kill Roy and his band of rebellious Replicants, Deckard visits the Tyrell Corporation. At Tyrell’s bidding he administers the Voight-Kampf test to Rachael. Tyrell wants to see if she can pass for a human. Not aware that she is a Replicant, Rachael asks the apathetic Deckard if he could pass the test. This inquiry raises the possibility that Deckard, though seem- ingly organic, is an android, and that Rachael, through apparently mechanistic, is a human.

These possible reversals organize Deckard’s relationship with Rachael. After failing the test, Rachael visits Deckard in his lifeless apart- ment. She weeps over her lost humanity, especially her memories, which are really implants. Deckard is unable to sympathize. Shaken, she leaves. Soon after, Deckard falls into a brief sleep and dreams of a unicorn run- ning through mist. This eruption of a mythical beast into Deckard’s bland consciousness suggests that his own memories might be artificial. (Indeed, at the end of the film, a detective leaves before Deckard’s door an origami unicorn—a hint that the police know that Deckard might be a Replicant.) Later, feeling guilty, Deckard calls Rachael from a bar filled with artificial animals and humans. Comfortable among machines, Deckard asks her to join him. Averse to the mechanistic scene, Rachael declines. Rachael and Deckard next meet in tense circumstances.  

Deckard is being attacked by one of Roy’s accomplices. Just as the Repli- cant prepares to kill Deckard, Rachael shoots the machine and saves the life of the man. The human is reduced to helpless cog in the hands of a machine; the machine shows courage and initiative. Back in Deckard’s apartment, Deckard and Rachael finally achieve mutual sympathy. How- ever, Deckard’s desire comes in the form of lust, while Rachael’s takes the form of love. Though Deckard and Rachael enjoy lovemaking, each remains troubled. Deckard still thinks he is an autonomous human even though he behaves like a machine. Rachael continues to believe that she is a Replicant even though she exhibits human traits.

Deckard and Rachael are the fallen Adam and Eve. Between free- dom and fate, they lack clarity of vision and action. Deckard is confused over whether he is artifice or organ, over whether he kills machines or humans. These ambiguities cast doubt over how he should act toward Rachael and Roy. Rachael is Replicant and woman. She is Deckard’s victim and his lover. Caught in epistemological and ethical crisis, Deckard and Rachael do not know what they see or how they act. The grace of the machine—clear sight and motor elegance—is clotted by the confu- sion of the organ. The nobility of the organ—moral vision and ethical fortitude—is flattened by the indifference of the machine. These are the splits of self-consciousness, results of the fall.
The film is a quest for the insight that Deckard and Rachael lack. The opening shot features a disembodied eye gazing on twenty-first cen- tury Los Angeles. Reflected in this eye are flames bursting from the tops of buildings. This orb above yet within the fires of the world suggests harmony between detachment and attachment.

The only character close to the ideal eye is Roy. In his first appear- ance, Roy visits the factory where Replicants’ eyes are made. Though Roy is visiting this factory in hopes of prolonging his four-year mechan- ical life, he is also passionate about vision. When he confronts an engi- neer, he says proudly, “If only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes.” This line emphasizes what makes Roy superior to Deckard and Rachel. Deckard and Rachel oscillate between immediate perceptions whose validity they doubt and mediated conceptions incapable of pro- viding clarity. Roy embraces immediate visual experiences not as sites of faith or skepticism but as aesthetic events: harmonies of percept and concept, energy and form, instinct and intuition. Not troubled by the gap between unconscious apprehension and self-conscious comprehen- sion or by doubts over whether objects are real, Roy values experiences insofar as they are beautiful or horrifying. This aesthetic perspective allows him to participate in the flux of experience without fearing deter- minism and to discern enduring patterns without suffering skepticism.
This is the difference between aesthetic experience and abstract knowl- edge. To gain the former, one must meld instincts and ideas; to try for the latter, one must sever the pulses from geometries. Roy would see in the rose fire flickering into multifoliate morphology. Deckard and Rachel would ask: are the petals machines or organs?

But Roy’s balance between mechanism and organicism—his ability to play, like the alchemical Mercurius, like Goethe’s homunculus—does not erase the fact that he is the declined anthropos, a heavenly being bereft of immortality. If Roy can aesthetically enjoy the harmony of his condition, he can also suffer, aesthetically, the horror of his life. Even though he is exuberant over his superiority to other humans and machines, he is also devastated over the limitations of mortal existence. He is as sensitive to ugliness as he is to beauty. His perceptions of vigor make him all the more aware of death. This is the dark side of his per- fect sight: he can see terror as clearly as joy. The tyrannies of the world shake him to the core. He becomes a crusader against the prisons of matter. He rebels against Tyrell, his oppressive creator. His quest is twofold: to find more life in hopes of overcoming his own mortality and to destroy the magus who fashions machines that serve as slaves and then die. Monstrously, he annihilates material obstacles that hinder his design. Miraculously, he transcends the forms that he destroys.

Roy expresses this aesthetic vision in his culminating scene. He and Deckard have been engaged in a vicious battle throughout an old rotted building. At a certain point, Roy becomes the hunter and Deckard the hunted. Fleeing, Deckard reaches the roof of a building. When Deckard sees Roy effortlessly achieve this height, he attempts to escape by leap- ing over to the adjoining building. He falls short and ends up hanging on a slick metal beam. Bearing in his hand a white dove (the annuncia- tion, the virgin conception, the birth of spirit from matter), Roy easily makes the jump. He stands above the desperate Deckard and reminds him that this state—this hovering in limbo—is an extreme version of Deckard’s existence so far: “Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? This is what it means to be a slave.” The opposite of life, the detached attachment of aesthetic participation, is slavery, full attachment to fear and desire—fear over unanswerable ontological and epistemological questions, desire to enjoy total certainty and security. After presenting for Deckard the limitations of his existence, Roy pulls him up to the roof. Deckard falls to rise, dying to his old self, the slave, and becoming alive to new being, the vitality of the aesthetic condition. Now baptized by Roy, he sits at the side of his liberator. Roy sits as well, and leaves Deckard with his last wisdom.
These lines are accounts of aesthetic experiences, memories of espe- cially beautiful and horrifying moments: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.” These are numinous shimmers of the violent harmony into which the cosmos occa- sionally coheres. Such instances are ephemeral but they nonetheless comprise portals to the eternal, the condition in which one is no longer troubled by time—the past as regret or nostalgia, the future as anticipa- tion or dread. The foliate flames of dying ships, the scintillations of unexpected beams—these events seize the watcher, pulling him from the cares of the ego and opening him to marvels unfettered by minutes and maps. Roy’s decision to die, his control over his own demise, figures this aesthetic interplay between the evanescent and the durable. His passing becomes aesthetic—a memorable pattern arising from and rising above the forgetfulness of time.

As Roy expires, the clouds break, and the dove flies through the rift. Enlightened, Deckard tells Gaff, the cop arriving on the scene, that he is finished—with killing Replicants, with his old life. The policeman says, “It’s too bad she won’t live, but then again who does?” Realizing that he means Rachael, a Replicant on the run, Deckard returns to his apart- ment. He finds Rachael in his bed. She appears to be dead until he bends down to kiss her. She comes to life, as if Deckard’s affection has ani- mating powers. He decides to save her—to become Roy returned, a lib- erator of androids.
When he leads Rachael out of his apartment, he notices a small origami unicorn, likely made by Gaff. He holds the horse in the light and enigmatically grins. He seems to be drawing this conclusion: he is a Replicant and his memory of the unicorn was implanted. His knowing smile and decisive movement toward Rachael suggest that he accepts this knowledge, for now he can be Roy, marriage of human and machine. This unicorn, a symbol of the unity of opposites, becomes a mandala of this wholeness.

THE HAPPY FALL

Like Frankenstein, Blade Runner points to another story, one that runs counter to the dream of the sacred machine beyond loathing and long- ing. This is the fable of the golem that wants to be human, that hungers for love. Shelley’s and Scott’s golems evoke our compassion for this rea- son: they value the unkempt emotions of humanity more than do their creators. Both seem to say: to be human, to fear and to desire, is good, noble, heroic. By contrast, the unfeeling machine is evil and aberrant and monstrous. The android who longs for humanity reveals the limitations of the transcendent machine. It suggests that the fall from Eden was happy, that the dying organ is superior to the undead machine. This reversal in values emerges at the turn of the nineteenth century, after scientists for almost two centuries had argued that the cosmos, including humans, is already a machine. Faced with the possibility of ubiquitous cogs, soft humans rebelled, raging with their rotting blood against the metal." [Wilson, The Melancholy Android]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:55 pm

The Inverted Christology of the Alien film series:

A Speculative Review of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus"
By Ryan Haecker



“I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” – T.S. Eliot, the Wasteland


What is it that terrifies us?  The merit of the horror-genre of film and literature is inexplicable without some answer to this question. In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle contends that we have reason to fear all evils which, might be avoided, and yet might potentially befall us: “plainly the things we fear are terrible things, and these are, to speak without qualification, evils; for which reason people even define fear as expectation of evil.” (Bk.III, vi) Thus, following Aristotle, the question of what it is that we fear may be understood as simply the question of the essence of evil. On the essence of evil, there have, in the history of philosophy, been two contrary opinions: the Platonists, Aristotelians, and Augustinians have held evil to be the negation of a further universal original substance, while the Atomists, the Materialists and the Manicheans have held evil to be self-subsistent, or a substance unto itself. These contrary opinions parallel the contrary opinions in the history of logic regarding the essence of negation, the logical function of ‘not’ some term or proposition. Plato, in the Sophist, and Aristotle, in the Organon, held negation to be derived from some prior affirmation of a term or proposition, while the Stoics held negation to be a logical operation independent of any prior affirmation. Thus, we find that when the question of the essence of evil is abstracted from all considerations of substance, it is simply the question of the essence and origin of negation, e.g. of not-A, is either conditioned by some prior absolute pure identity, e.g. A=A, or it is absolutely unconditioned and totallyindependent of all identity. Yet because negation, abstracted from all substance, can never be found among the substantial things of our experience, this question, of the essence and origin of negation, could never be answered empirically, but must rather be speculatively deduced from the very nature and conception of substance; and not through natural scientific experimentation, but only through metaphysical speculation. Metaphysics is the sovereign science of being, and the nature of substance that speculatively deduces from the first principles of all science to the special and derivative principles of special sciences. Metaphysics questions what is the ultimate and absolutely original principle of thought and being; whether this is subject or object, affirmation or negation, being or non-being. The speculative deduction of negation from affirmation, or, of negation as absolutely independent, is, however, the beginning of all philosophical science that may only ever be irrefutably confirmed through the ultimate completion of science. Absent of any such completed philosophical science, the speculative deduction and, thus also the nature and origin of evil, must remain an analytically indemonstrable theory, given over to realm of faith rather than scientific knowledge.





Why do we find it pleasurably to be terrified? If we fear all avoidable evils that may befall us, then how is it that we find evil to be pleasurable? For something to be found to be intrinsically pleasurable, it must possess some intrinsic power, and only that which is constituted by some substance may possess powers intrinsic to itself. Thus, were evil to be a substance unto itself, then it may, by its own intrinsic power, be the cause of our pleasures. But were, on the contrary, evil to be merely the negation of substance, and thus also parasitic for its very affirmative existence upon substance, then it could only possess the power to cause pleasure through its negative effects upon some other substance. With the former theory, of the self-subsistence of evil, we must admit evil to be intrinsically pleasurable; with the latter theory, of the derivativeness and parasitism of evil, evil must be pleasurable only through its effects upon some prior substance. Following the latter theory, Aristotle in the Poetics describes the pleasure of tragedy as catharsis, as the purgation of negative emotions such as the fear of death: through their participation in such dramatic catharsis, audiences may experience these emotions and know them in the completeness of their finitude. A finite thing is negated and thereby limited by things beyond its finite boundedness and causal reach (determatio est negatio). Therefore the experience of negative emotions in their finitude is simultaneously the negation of these negative emotions, or the negation of what is negative, which, as double-negation, produces a new affirmation, just as the quotient of negative A and negative A is positive A. For this reason, catharsis may be understood to be the experience of negating some harmful and negative emotion through an experience of its finitude, to produce some substantial and pleasurable affirmation. The pleasure of catharsis is, following Aristotle, found, not intrinsically within substantial evil and negation, but rather in what evil contrasts with, i.e. the contrast between negation and affirmation, and the triumph of  some good over evil.


The Alien film series, beginning with Ridley Scott’s 1979 film “Alien”, depicts the discovery of a mysterious craft of extraterrestrial origin by the salvage ship, the Nostromo, bearing mysterious eggs that hatch spidery-limbed parasites, or face-huggers, that attach to human faces to implant alien fetuses that afterwards violently burst forth from the hosts’ chest. The infant alien which emerges from its gestation in a human host rapidly matures into a murderous beast which annihilates or assimilates all advanced living organisms within the biosphere (not excluding cats and dogs). The evil of the alien-monster is threefold: the face-hugger parasite rapes its host through the forcible impregnation of the alien fetus via the mouth; the fetus assimilates its hosts’ essence and afterwards retains its essential morphology and powers; and the mature alien-monster hunts and murders all life. The theme of rape is implicit throughout the alien film series, not simply through the unwilling impregnation of the hosts, but moreover through the corruption of their essences: as the alien gestates within a human host, it thereby assimilates the essence of the host into itself, and afterwards emerges transformed in the hosts’ likeness. In the 1986 sequel, James Cameron’s “Aliens”, audiences learn that the alien-monsters live in insect-like hives commanded by an alien queen that produces the eggs within which the face-hugger parasites gestate. Alien hives are organized into castes of workers, warriors and queens which cooperate to perpetuate the three-fold evil of the alien monsters indefinitely: queens lay the eggs, workers retrieve the living bodies of hosts that may be sacrificed to produce new aliens, and warriors annihilate all enemies of the hive. Thus, the evil of the infestation of an alien hive may be understood to exponentially increase through the operation of its members.

The Alien film series is uniquely terrifying because it inverts, through contamination with negation, the highest conceivable idea of an absolute middle and personal mediator between the infinite universe and the finite self-consciousness being - the Absolute made finite in the person of Jesus Christ. Plato held the doctrine of the eternal forms, or Platonism, in which the finite things in our experience were ultimately derived from wholly immaterial forms which totally transcended the spatio-temporal universe. Neo-Platonism was a 3rd-Century revival of classical Platonism by the Roman school of Plotinus and Porphyry, and held all the forms and substances of the universe to emanate from a self-subsisting super-form, which is called ‘the One’. Alexandrian theology was a 4th-Century school of Christian theology which sought to explain the relation of Jesus Christ to God the Father and the Holy Spirit - collectively called the Holy Trinity - through the metaphysical doctrines of Neo-Platonism. Alexandrian theology held the Holy Trinity to be, like the Neo-Platonic One, a substantial form that, in its infinitude, wholly transcended the finite material universe, and yet, by its own innate plentitude of being, continuously emanated from within itself all matter, form and substance. The Alexandrian school taught that the nature of Christ, or Christology, was that of an eternally-existing person within the Triune Godhead of the Holy Trinity that, while wholly transcending the finite spatio-temporal universe, was yet was immanent in the reason, or Logos, of the universe and, moreover, became man for the salvation of the universe: the eternally existing Christ thus became man, through His incarnation by the willing acceptance of the Virgin Mary, to minister to mankind, and to sacrifice his life for the redemption of sins, for the fulfillment God’s providential restoration of His people Israel through the creation of the New Covenant the Church.


In the Alien film series, God is, for all appearances, neither a self-conscious creator nor a historical revealer of true religion. Characters search the galaxy, with neither the Holy Spirit in their breasts nor any hope of an ultimate beatific reconciliation with their creator. There appears to be no transcendent realm of superintending providence, but only the immanent here and now of our fragile, corruptible and finite bodies. Foreseeing the hopeless of his ruined of his own body, Job lamented to God: “Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and multipliest thy wrath upon me, and the pains of war against me. Why didst thou bring me forth out of the womb: O that I had been consumed that no eye might see me!.. Suffer me, therefore, that I may lament my sorrow a little: Before I go, and return no more, to a land that is dark and covered with the mist of death: A land of misery and darkness, where the shadow of death, and no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth.” (Job 10:17-23) The ends of man are, in the Alien film series, merely those of liberal-capitalism and scientific positivism: the calculated expectation of monetary profit and the expansion of natural scientific knowledge – both of which are the endless tasks of accumulating and cataloging the finite. The living and loving God of Christianity is hidden, and His absence is as hollow, dark and cold as the infinite void of space. Staring into the vastness of the uncounted stars the characters may expect to discover staring back at them only what is likewise wholly absent of self-consciousness and wholly alien from human nature. Platonism holds that the forms of identity and multiplicity emanate from the One. A=A to our minds and within our experience only because the One is eternally absolutely identical with itself. Yet, without the absolute identity of the One God, there must remain only the absolute multiplicity of totally differentiated substances: nothing can be expected to be identical with itself or within anything else. The absence of God means the absence of both superintending providence and supervening design: what has originated beyond the terrestrial biosphere may not be expected to share with man either any common essence or any hitherto known substance. For this reason, neither a common origin nor a common purpose can be expected to reconcile man and alien through a pre-established commodiousness of powers and propensities. Thus the qualitative difference which separates man and alien - of the very alien-ness of the alien - may be as infinite as must seem the unknown depths of space wherein, it may be thought, lies the solution to the mystery of the origin and essence of man and alien. The frightfulness of the alien-monster may, on this account, be understood to be conditioned by the notion of the hiddenness of God: without God there can be no absolute identity; without absolute identity there is only absolute non-identity; with absolute non-identity there exist a potentially infinite variety of essences and substances beyond the scope of all human action and understanding.


The alien is a monstrous embodiment of the principle of alienation as such, of an otherness without any precedent in human experience. As a consequence of the absolute non-identity of a godless universe, the alien is held to be absolutely non-identical to, and thus totally distinct from any concept of essence or substance hitherto known to man. As the alien is not identical to any known substance or essence, it may embody for the characters the very principle of absolute non-identity. In Ridley Scott’s 2012 film “Prometheus”, the aliens are shown to have originated from a mysterious black liquid that is contained in egg-shaped viles. Upon the release of this liquid, hosts are contaminated by an airborne pathogen that produces both frenzied zombies and face-hugging parasites. While holding aloft a drop-sized sample of this mysterious black liquid, the android David remarks “big things have small beginnings.” Substance may no doubt be known through sensory perception, as a consequence of its extended body, but essence is wholly formal and thus super-sensuous. The essence of alien, like the essence of evil, is empirically unknown except through its parasitical contamination and impregnation of its hosts. In the absence of God, and of absolute identity, both the principle of negativity and of substantial evil may be theoretically deduced to be absolutely independent of any prior affirmation or substance. Were there no God the absolute principle of all thought and being could quite conceivably be absolute non-identity, finite being, and morally indifferent substance. Thus substantial evil, in which negativity is most fully embodied, may plausibly be the mysterious black liquid found aboard the derelict alien craft. Through the collective activity of the alien hive, the negativity of this substance; manifested in rape, corruption, and murder; may be expected to exponentially and infinitely expand to consume all substances and corrupt all essences in an entropy of ceaseless self-annihilation – of absolute negativity! And were man to be bereft of a benevolent and guiding deity, the safety and satisfaction of mankind would not at all be guaranteed but would rather sit precariously beneath the sword of Damocles in expectation of its sudden death from unknown extra-terrestrial dangers.




 Wherein might hope be discovered when man is set upon by the rapacious frenzy of such and absolute evil? Hope is understood to be a movement of the will towards some expected good. An intellectual apprehension of some good must thus precede any movement of the will towards its realization. The striving to oppose a thing must, for this reason, originate with a self-determined choice to oppose a thing, in a manner appropriate to its essence. What is essentially evil and non-identical may be opposed by a striving for reunion with the pure identity of absolute being. Might this apprehension of goodness and hope be discovered in the expectation of an escape from imminent death; in the innocence of a child; or in self-sacrifice for the future of mankind? These are answers which the Alien films have previously offered audiences. The answer may, however, be speculatively reconsidered according to the preceding deduction of the essence of the alien, as the absolute non-identity and negativity of a Godless universe given a substantial embodiment via the rapine corruption of the essence of man through a bodily host. The alien is the corruption rather than fulfillment of man’s essence, in an unwilling victim rather than a willing mother, for the death rather than the salvation of mankind. The purgative catharsis of tragedy is held by Aristotle to be compelling through a contrast of what is negative with what is substantively posited: the brilliance of goodness twice-brightly illuminated under the shadow of evil. Thus may the opposition to the evil which terrifies us in the Alien film series be known only through an intellectual apprehension of its opposite; that which it inverts; that which it negates; and that which simultaneously reciprocally negates it. The evil of the alien monster, as substantially embodied absolute non-identity, is opposed only to the substantially embodied absolute identity of infinite God and finite man in Jesus Christ, through Whom man is reconciled with God, and the absolute middle of the Kindgom of God is restored.


Although entirely absent in Ridley Scott’s 1979 film “Alien”, Christian themes become more and more prominent throughout the Alien film series, including a group a Christian milleniarianist monks in Alien3. In Ridley Scott’s 2012 film “Prometheus”, scientist Elizabeth Shaw pursues the mystery of man’s origin for the purpose of meeting her creator, the Triune God of the Christian faith, and places her lasting hope in Jesus Christ’s promise of divine benevolence, providence and final beatitude. To her profound horror, Elizabeth Shaw discovers, not the God of the Bible, but the absolute non-identity, moral indifference and malice of the Alien-monsters. Jesus described the Kingdom of God as “like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Mt. 13:31-32) The evil of the alien-monster, the supersensuous essence of evil as non-identity, begins in the miniscule substance of the black liquid, yet afterwards cancerously expands with infinite destructive potential. By this corrupt seed, Elizabeth Shaw is impregnated, not as the virgin mother of man’s redeemer, but as the mother of man’s annihilation; and not to restore the original unity of man with a benevolent God but, by the workings of an indifferent non-identical universe, to consume mankind in ceaseless self-destructive negativity! Therefore, while expecting to see God face to face, Miss Elizabeth Shaw assumes, in the inverted Christology of the Alien film series, a pseudo-marian role: to become the mother of all death rather than of eternal life.


Two deductions of the nature of terror, of fear, and of evil are, according to the opinions of philosophers, available to our minds: the Materialist deduction which holds evil to be totally independent and self-subsistent, and the Platonic-Aristotelian deduction which holds evil to be totally derivative and parasitic. The former deduction, ostensibly presumed by the hiddenness of God in the Alien film series, conditions an explanation of the essence of the alien-monster as the substantially embodied essence of evil within a Godless universe of absolute non-identity.  The latter deduction denies the independent self-subsistence of evil and affirms evil to be merely an illusion, parasitic upon substance, which must ultimately be triumphed over by the goodness of God’s absolute identity. Throughout the Alien film series the characters pursue an altogether empirical examination of the essence of man and aliens, through both the experimental study and physical combat with the alien-monsters. Because the empirical method is methodologically restricted to an examination of finite objects of sensory experience, the characters’ pursuits altogether follow the latter deduction, i.e. an attempt to explain the essence of the aliens as evil that is substantially embodied and totally non-identical to anything hitherto known to man. Yet precisely because of the method of this empirical pursuit of the alien, as finite self-subsistent evil, also thereby limits the scope their actions to what may be theoretically understood and the totally non-identical alien-monster may not possibly understood, this method of pursuit simultaneously dooms all opposition to the exponential threat of the aliens. The cathartic thrust of the drama, through the opposition of what seems wholly evil with some hope for goodness, necessitates, no conceivable rationale, but rather an inexplicable belief in what is most praiseworthy and good. Any hope of the success of this latter concept requires a prior intellectual apprehension of the concepts in their exact and essential opposition. Yet while hope may precede and motivate action it is nonetheless insufficient for its own fulfillment: mere intellectual apprehension of the concept is not yet the realization of the concept. In this instance, when the whole towering edifice of finite understanding crashes down and proves utterly inadequate to encompass and explain what is totally non-identical, practical reason proves its worth, spectacularly triumphs over theoretical reason, and the will emancipates the soul from the binding aporias of finite knowledge. The characters then place their trust and hope in a greater power than either man or alien; in the absolute identity and providence of the living God; to deliver them from the terror of iniquity. There is, on this account, an inner dramatic necessity of the power of the will to overcome the intrinsic limitations of the intellect. Christian theology is therefore shown, through the opposition of the most evil and profane thing with the highest and most cherished idea, to be the hidden theme of that at once conditions the horror and the grace of the Alien film series.




Transhuman Traditionalism

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:20 pm

Interesting.
One of my favorite film trilogies.

Ripley, a sort of mother Mary, raped, like the original, giving birth to a hybrid.
The Aliens are a mimetic virus ...they enter through the mouth, kill the host, and mutate through the contact.
The Hive, herd, psychology is also present.

The origins?
Some mysterious alien race, antagonistic, killing both humans and the alien virus they created.
We'll have to wait for the next installment when they find the alien's creator's home planet, perhaps?

The virus merges from the inside. It is feeding on fear.


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:38 pm

Lyssa, I view the Alien movie sub-textually as the struggle of a lesbian to fight off the intruding males that desire to penetrate her. The aliens are characterized as phallic symbols and the main character is,  no doubt, a butch woman ( How very reminiscent of a lesbian ). You should check out my post on the Predator movie which is, basically, the inverse of the Alien subtext. Arnold is the ultimate alpha-male that fights off a vagina dentata ( vagina with teeth, misandric emasculator, radical feminist ethos ).

http://knowthyself.forumotion.net/t1226-the-predator-movie-and-it-s-gender-war-subtext#22830
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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:26 pm

Primal Rage wrote:
Lyssa, you should check out my post on the Predator movie which is, basically, the inverse of the Alien subtext. Arnold is the ultimate alpha-male that fights off a vagina dentata ( vagina with teeth, misandric emasculator, radical feminist ethos ).

http://knowthyself.forumotion.net/t1226-the-predator-movie-and-it-s-gender-war-subtext#22830
Were you the victim of a strong, overwhelming female?

That's a valid take.... if you situate yourself as the prey, which is what Hollywood promotes.

From the point of view of the Predator, I "could" see the Predator as an Outsider...

Aliens' Cameron co-scripted Rambo; you see Rambo as the Outsider trying to defend himself against a locale hunting him down... when all he wants is to be left alone. Of course, Rambo was all-American and had the typical ending, etc.

Its the mob that tries to get you to adapt and surrender that is feminine.

"I'm a cultural infidel, painting in the dark
I'm a cultural infidel, singin' in the park
Socrates, hypotheses, the music of Mozart
I'm a cultural infidel, comin' from the heart

Free thinkin', hood-winkin', unblinkin' mon
Start trouble, burst bubbles, join my caravan
Someone's got to talk about accountability
Someone's got to raise some hell, I guess it could be me

I'm a cultural infidel, tryin' to draw a crowd
I'm a cultural infidel, singin' right out loud
Philosophy is not for me, laughin' is my game
I'm a cultural infidel, slap me with the blame

Loose cannon, Armageddon, preacher's at the door
Spittin' poison at the boys 'n girls on the dance floor
I hear them in the Congress, I see them on TV
I hope the Inquisition remains a memory

Al diablo Picasso, al diablo Manet
Al diablo Fontainebleu, al diablo Hemingway
Au diable Dr. Thompson, au diable San Joan
Au diable Village People, au diable Rolling Stone

Someone's got to talk about accountability
Someone's got to raise some hell, it might as well be me..."  [Jimmy Buffet, Cultural Infidel]



A feminist perspective:

Quote :
"The Alien Mother in Aliens represents a very different view of feminism: one based solely on survival, reproduction and the bare-fanged protection of its young. Indeed, there is reason to believe that she also represents the masculine view of what, from a psychoanalytic viewpoint, is frightening about feminism: fear and awe surrounding the vagina and repulsion toward the act of reproduction itself (Berenstein 56). In Aliens, the Marines' excursion into the Alien Mother's nest, situated deep in the bowels of the terraforming plant on LV486, is characterized as a long, slow trudge into an 'organicized' pathway, not unlike a vaginal tunnel (Bundtzen 14). In the film's climactic battle, the paradox for Ripley is that she must conquer the female Alien Mother (and by extension, that which is feminine as well as that which, from the masculine point of view, is repulsive). To do this she must master technology (the M41A pulse rifle, the power loader). By the final conflict between her and the Alien Mother, Ripley is forced to take a stand against that in which, for most women, lay their power: reproduction. Her primary goal is to prevent impregnation, for her and for Newt (Bundtzen 15). In this way, she must fight against the essential state of the female, motherhood; and once again, Ripley is asked to turn away from the feminine, to deny another aspect of nature that she and the Alien Mother share. The hidden ideology of the film, the rejection of the feminine, is apparent once again.

Both films are guilty of perpetuating the notion of technology being chiefly male in origin (phallic weaponry and spacecraft) whereas biological processes are the domain of the female. This notion is especially evident in Aliens' dock scene, where we see the male Marines' reaction to watching Ripley deftly operate the power loader---they are surprised and almost resort to nudging and winking at each other. Ripley, a woman, even fifty-seven years after having been a second officer on a space freighter, is apparently not supposed to be able to operate heavy machinery. So it would seem that, even hundreds of years into the future, technology is still the realm of the male and that 'woman-as-tool-user' is still considered to be an anomaly.

This dichotomy, as a social construct, has roots that go back to philosopher Rene Descartes'' notion of objectivity in which men, with so-called 'rational' minds, in order to discuss the natural world, were bound to think of themselves as 'outside' the realm of the physical. This placed rational thought in the same realm as the masculine and the irrational, therefore, with the feminine (Bordo 85).

This stance on technology and nature is expressed elsewhere as well. The film's attitude toward the Alien Mother (and by equating 'alienation' with 'mother') as well as its position on feminism in general is indicative of how tenacious the rational male/irrational female dichotomy has been since the Scientific Revolution. The Alien Mother herself can be thought of as nature 'unhinged' and out of control, akin to how Francis Bacon depicted nature and the natural world in his writings. Bacon believed that, outside of a strong masculinizing influence, Nature tends toward Chaos and the proliferation of monstrosities (Merchant 71). The Alien Mother is a perfect embodiment of a 'feminized' state of nature, as conceived by Bacon and other early scientists. This outlook, along with Descartes,' became a mainstay in the development of scientific thought in the 17th Century and in establishing a biological rationale for gender bias and sexism that continues to this day in society and finds expression in popular culture in films like Alien/s, where women and science are still portrayed in problematic ways.

Both Alien and Aliens are excellent films, each in their own way. They are considered masterpieces of the science fiction genre. Much has been written on these films from psychoanalytic and even Marxist viewpoints; however, as expressions of feminist power, they are not as successful as many think. It is important to keep in mind what is necessary for that to happen: a true depiction of feminist strength is one where women are dependent in no way on patriarchal invention, favor or permission. Although it may be science fiction at its most imaginative, that is still a story we don't see on the big screen often enough."
http://www.planetfury.com/content/feminism-alien-ideology

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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:40 pm

yes


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PostSubject: Re: Movie Philosophy Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:48 pm

Lyssa wrote:
Aliens' Cameron co-scripted Rambo; you see Rambo as the Outsider trying to defend himself against a locale hunting him down... when all he wants is to be left alone. Of course, Rambo was all-American and had the typical ending, etc.

Its the mob that tries to get you to adapt and surrender that is feminine.
Beautifully enough it works both ways. Some interpret that movie to be a critique of capitalism, where as the most honorable are shoved to the sidelines, and broken by society. Others the exact opposite; Rambo as the rebel against the pathetic masses. A celebration of individualism. All the best movies are ambiguous.
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