Philosophy at the Movies
Gratis podcast

Philosophy at the Movies

Podcast af Stockdale Center - Shaun Baker, PhD.

Have you ever thought about the philosophical concepts inherent in contemporary movies? Join us for intriguing discussions linking film and philosophy. 

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Alle episoder

112 episoder
episode Amadeus artwork
Amadeus
What does this 1984 film, a largely fictional account of the relationship between Mozart and fellow composer Antonio Salieri, tell us about the mix of jealousy disgust and admiration that motivates Salieri as he deals with the profane Mozart? How does the movie portray Salieri’s conflicted love/hate relationship with God, and use the contrast between Mozart’s profane life and personality, and the profound and sublime beauty of his music, to motivate that conflict? How does Salieri’s plot to convince Mozart that his deceased father has commissioned him to compose a Requiem Mass illustrate? Does Salieri ever reconcile himself with his own mediocre talent? Why does this film largely fictionalize the actual relationship between the two men, which did have elements of friction, but was largely professional and, to a degree, collegial? How does this film from the 1980s reflect the hard living by pop stars in the 1960s and 1970s? How does the film comment upon censoriousness with regard to art? How does it comment upon the musical tastes and political concerns of the aristocracy of the day, upon market forces, and reflect similar dynamics in today’s film industry?
13. jun. 2024 - 49 min
episode Godzilla Minus One artwork
Godzilla Minus One
How does this 2023 film, which is set in post-WWII Japan, explore the complex emotions of its main character, Koichi, as he deals with survivor’s guilt? How does he compound the shame he has for having been too afraid to undertake his kamikaze mission in the late days of the war? When he and his unit are attacked by Godzilla why does he fail to carry out his part of the counterattack? How does the film portray post war Tokyo, and Koichi’s relationship with survivor Noriko and the orphaned child, Akiko, who she cares for? How does her action to save Koichi’s life during Godzilla’s attack on her home town compound his survivor’s guilt? Do elements of the film amount to a critique of Imperial Japanese attitudes toward life and death? How does the film portray comradery between Koichi and the men he works with as they clear mines, and later, confront the mutated Godzilla? What is symbolized when Koichi flies a modified jet aircraft into Godzilla’s mouth, and ejects before the explosion? What does Sosaku’s provision of an ejection seat symbolize? Is the film a conservative political statement of some sort? Why does the film have the Americans stepping back from confronting Godzilla? Do Godzilla movies symbolize Japanese feelings about the country’s Imperial past, along with the more obvious inspiration derived from Allied use of atomic weapons?
30. maj 2024 - 52 min
episode Network artwork
Network
What does this 1976 film, which tells the story of a failing television network, and the psychological breakdown of its primary news anchorman, Howard Beale, tell us about market forces in media and the import of ratings in generating income? Why does the programming director, Dianne Christinsen, have no problem with exploiting Beale’s mental breakdown? What message is sent by the ironic fact that the communist party USA enters into contract with the network and a leftist splinter group, the Ecumenical Liberation Army to create a reality show? Are they not behaving exactly as the capitalists do? How does this film portray the cynicism in the arrangement and mirror the exploitative relationship between the establishment Communist Party and the splinter group, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the relationship between the CCA holding company, the UBS Network and Howard Beale? Why does CCA head, Arthur Jensen, sell Howard his “corporate cosmology,” yet not seem concerned as the message causes ratings to decline as Beale takes it up on the network’s revamped “news” show? What does the broadcast assassination of Beale tell us about all the parties involved in the conspiracy? How does the Hollywood of the time reflect the cynicism of the 1970s? Does this film’s message and “cosmology” have relevance for today's media environment?
19. maj 2024 - 57 min
episode Planet of the Apes artwork
Planet of the Apes
How does this film make use of relativistic time dilation to set up its twist ending, where Taylor discovers he is on Earth in the distant future, after humanity suffered some great catastrophe (probably a world-wide nuclear war)? How much does Dr. Zaius, the ‘defender of the faith,’ know about Taylor, human history on Earth, and why does he feel it necessary to hide what he knows from Ape society? Is he afraid that Ape society will traverse the same dangerous road of technological advancement that led to the end of human civilization? Why is he concerned that humans are inherently a dangerous influence on apes? Did Apes kill one another prior to Taylor’s arrival? Does Zaius take it that the measures taken against the breeding of human beings by Ape society are justifiable because they insure that humanity will not bring on another globally catastrophic event? Why does he move to suppress evidence that Cornelius and Dr. Zira have found of an ancient human civilization? Do Zaius’s action show that the ancient Ape called ‘The Lawgiver’ knew the truth about man’s past? In what ways does the film depart from its source material, the Pierre Boulle novel of the same title? How do both explore ethics of animal experimentation and research via the use of role reversal? How do the three different species of ape (chimpanzee, orangutan and gorilla) function in the society portrayed in the film? In what ways does ape treatment of human beings reflect our treatment of non-human species?
18. maj 2024 - 47 min
episode The Zone of Interest artwork
The Zone of Interest
What does this 2024 film, portraying the family life of Auschwitz Commandant Rudolph Hoss, teach us about that family’s ability to compartmentalize the horrors from which they directly benefit, and what lessons does this hold for us? How does the film make use of the aural atmosphere laying over the mundane activities of the family to implicate their guilt? How does the film portray the bravery and heroism of the young girl who, at great risk to herself, plants apples around the work areas for the prisoners that are slave laborers? Does the concluding set of scenes, showing Hoss retching as he descends a darkened flight of stairs alone, and then taking us forward in time to the present-day Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and Museum, portray Hoss’s recognition, at some level, of the enormity of his crimes, illustrating something reflected upon by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as he wrote about his own experiences in the Soviet Gulag system? “the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained”
01. maj 2024 - 40 min
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