The main premise of Philosophical Perspective on Cinema is simple: Can a visual medium such as cinema put in greater perspective diverse aspects of human experience? Films are usually sorted by genres, but by applying metaphysical/existential categories to cinema, the author enables readers to reflect on the nature and essence of existence by making life appear less transparent to itself. Undoubtedly, the connection between sensual reality and philosophical reflection is often glossed over when the emphasis is placed on theoretical abstractions, and not life itself. While this work is a reflection on the philosophy of existence, the author embraces a practical approach to the metaphysical/existential foundation of human existence.
Pedro Blas González is professor of philosophy at Barry University.
Introduction: Metaphysical/Existential Reflection Seeking Qualitative Essences in Cinema
Chapter 1: 2001: An Existential Odyssey
Chapter 2: Andrei Tarkovsky: Truth Endorsed by Life
Chapter 3: Fahrenheit 451: A Brave New World for the New Man
Chapter 4: Citizen Kane: Biography and the Unfinished Sentence
Chapter 5: Treasure of the Sierra Madre, or Socrates in the Desert
Chapter 6: Jean Pierre Melville: Encounters with Conscience
Chapter 7: Seven Thieves: Making the World Gasp
Chapter 8: Curse of the Demon: Of Evil, Myth and Reason
Chapter 9: The Uninvited and Dead of Night: The Ominous Other
Chapter 10: Jacques Tati: Last Bastion of Innocence in Modernity
González intends his approach to divert attention from what most broadly gains attention in escapist contemporary movies: intense visual displays and astounding special effects. González endorses more meaningful cinema that avoids being seduced by the sensual and ascends rather to the “metaphysical/existential” essence of human existence. Genuinely humanistic cinema thus aspires to elucidate spiritual transcendence. Analysis of these pinpointed films builds on detailed synopses, which show how a visual narrative can deliver transcendent meaning and ennoble humanity. This book will interest those in theology and religious studies as well as film students. Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers.
Philosophical Perspective on Cinema is an original contribution to our understanding of the role of film in advancing the philosophical and existential perspective on life. In this wide-ranging analysis of major films, the author engages in a highly thoughtful discussion of the philosophical nature of film.
This accessible and deeply philosophical examination of iconic films is a welcome addition to the bibliography on the intersection between film and humanistic disciplines.