Critics analyze movies all the time as a way of getting to the ‘unconscious’ of culture. We all know movies can advance philosophical notions, and (when done properly) even express them more directly than an actual philosopher.

Which movies do you think have important philosophical or psychoanalytic content?

Another issue that might be interesting to consider: is there a ‘visual’ way of thinking and communication which differs from our usual thought-process and language games? What role do movies play in expressing ideas?

And if all that is seeming obscure, or too superficial: how does the media in general work to inform the content of our imaginative, symbolic and real space?

I spent some time gushing over ‘The Seventh Seal’ in the review forum. I don’t have the language to express why this film felt important to me… but it did. I couldn’t name any other films that might fit your criteria since most of what I’ve seen is the garbage churned out by Hollywood…

I agree, it’s not really expressible in words. Ingmar Bergman is credited as one of the few filmmakers who’se work could actually not have been made in any other medium than film.
I think Stanley Kubrick tries to achieve this sort of directly-accessing the subconscious thing, especially in 2001, on a very basic symbolic level with the rotation theme and the monolith, and on an even more basic not so symbolic level with a Clockwork Orange. He definitely succeeded adressing something with that, but it wasn’t very uplifting. Neither is Bergman very uplifting, though.

Full Metal Jacket


Well, I’ve yet to see Bergman’s other films but I thought Nils Poppe’s performance in ‘the Seventh Seal’ was very uplifting. Despite all the doom and gloom in the film he is the primary thing I remember. But I suppose that’s just me, and I can’t deny that overall the film was less than uplifting.

I have a problem with ‘express’ and ‘directly’ but putting that aside, yes, cinema is the best philosophical medium we’ve invented so far.

Sling Blade is one. Very touching, very clever movie about mental illness and how madness is created by the society in which it lives. As Jakob said about Kubrick’s more philosophical movies, not very uplifting. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is another. Dodgy cinematically, but conceptually beautiful. Pi, again, is a depressing movie but is very clever. Pushes all the right buttons.

As you suggest, movies are an alternative to literature. A superior form, in many respects. There’s not much separating a great book from a great film, to me at least, but there are some things each can do that the other cannot.

For example, literature can only describe. No matter how talented the writer, you’ve only got words. A movie can set a scene in seconds. A novel would take two pages to achieve the same effect.

However, for internal monologues, literature works better over a long period. A lot of voice overs make movies tedious, yet in a novel you can happily read a few dozen pages of the protagonist’s thoughts.

That’s far too big a question to answer in the short time I have right now, but I’d say that regardless of the form itself, media in general controls and liberates, defines and deconstructs, in the same breath.

I’d also give a mention to Network, one of my favourite movies. A genuinely hilarious, intelligent American comedy from the 1970s set at a TV production company, based primarily around the upsurging madness of one Howard Beale, a newcaster sacked for poor ratings who becomes a ‘mad prophet of airwaves’.

“He’s saying that life is bullshit, and it is, so what are you screaming about?” lol

I’d say Waking Life and What the bleep do We Know? are prime examples, but only because they’re about philosophy.

Lost in Translation has got to be my favorite. An excellent example of existentialist film.

I’ve gotta say, I found ‘what the bleep do we know?’ to be a poor movie, both scientifically and philosophically. But at least they tried, I suppose…

I’d never seen that movie - these scenes are great! I like how they don’t even notice what he’s saying at first.

I still haven’t seen it. But it’s not really a movie, is it?
I very much like Jacobs Ladder as something that conveys an idea without really formulating it - the idea is bigger than the story. You can put ideas together when you’ve watched the movie, but you have to make an intellectual effort.

Dr. Seuss movies. These movies and books loved by children and some of us adults give deep lphilosphical ideas in fun and simple ways. His stories allows children to read and understand philosophy, without confusion.

I just caught the ending of Falling Down on tv. I don’t know if it’s philosophical, but it’s definitely one of the most satisfying character explorations I know. This is as good a clips as any I guess; … ed&search=
I love how Michael Douglas can shift from weepy to warrior-mode in the blink of an eye.

I bought another copy of it recently after concluding that my loaned-out copy will probably never be returned. It’s a truly amazing movie, Jake, and I think you’d adore it. A friend of mine says he found it as a torrent quite easily, so you should be able to get hold of it.

Well, it’s a sorta documentary/instructional self-help video. So no, not really a movie.

Sure, and this is probably the best a movie can really hope to do. You’ve only got a couple of hours, and no matter how much you might cram into that couple of hours, there’s always more to be said and shown. I suppose this is why I find long running cinematic drama series like the Sopranos so compelling. It’s like a movie in that it has most of the strengths of a movie (dense scripting, high drama, visual quality) but without the key weakness (one-off piece, limited timeframe).

Cube (the headless juggernaut)
Equilibrium (utopia)
The Thin Red Line (war)

Kipling’s Jungle Book and Rikki Tikki Tavi. Kipling is the stepping stone after Seuss. Its a shame they put Kipling’s best works on the required reading lists. Heck its a shame they put the masters and classics on the required reading lists at school. It turns what should be loved and enjoyed into something to be avoided and work. Now kids only get the perverted versions of classics, thanks to the screen.

I was born on the same day as Rudyard Kipling.

And he continues to make exceedingly good cakes.

Waking Life
The Matrix

that makes you 142 years old…



Waking Life
I never got that

cliche, BBC’s Panet Earth reigns supreme.

The Matrix
except for the combat scenes a pretty f king good film.