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Debashrita Dey


The Revealing Glare of Value Relativism in American Films

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6 months ago
6 months ago
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For those who are keenly into movies, American films like I Am Legend (2007), Deadline (2009), Turning Point (2009), Bomb It (2007), Crash (2007), Zeitgeist (2007) and many others when analyzed does bring forth the human efforts and understanding for their existence. These films raise two questions for viewers and critics while creating empathy or delivering alienation-effect.

The first is – How do the seeds of ambiguity are sown by anti-intellectual elements in order to configure the ‘orthodoxies of modernity’? The second being- How has ‘post modernity positioned social problems in the age of scientific rationalism and cultural constructions in the mindset’?

The selected films have problematized, identified and measured the welfare-alternatives and assets of the secular, materialistic, mechanized and techno-culture in contradiction to the complex, stark reality of modern society of the first decade of the twenty-first century. The filmic text inadvertently displays a one-dimensional man whose needs, inner desires and ambitions are de facto human values. That means epistemic is hijacked, and it is a deconstructive tool of self-serving ideologues of moral panic.

These films, on one hand, project an outcry for fear and alienation, suppression, discrimination, homelessness, fraught and environmental destruction, while on the other hand there is a quest to ensure a healthy, humane and happy life with dignity, quality, safety, security and equity. This primordial human need and fear suggests characters’ expectations and questions for ‘common sense’, but the same rationality represents the tragic truth of human life which is more into inhuman, illogical, invisible trap of human catastrophe, because the relativity of contextual logic and fragmenting trust are under the governance of power relationships which stands beyond the notions of common sense.

While watching these movies, one can determine the possibility of a new meaning in the actions and conduct of the characters, self-de constructiveness resolution of human happiness in contemporary times. Also one gets a clarity about the possibility and potentiality of human choices, the idea of constructing a better world of self-actualization that is based on likeness and enabling aspect, the voice and redress of the dormant demands for social and economic justice for those who under the pressures of economic progress have been stripped of their identity, roots and entity.

Thus, the chisel of time and experience carves and enhances our definition deeper and deeper each day. We need to be extremely aware of what we leverage in order to define ourselves, for what defines us also defines our limits. In the light of the above given observation, let me draw your attention to the much acclaimed film Inception (2010) that leads us to the idea that the film has been woven in the fabric of the contemporary state of the post-truth world but as the story progresses the film seems to be getting more and more involved into the question of the impossibility of arriving at the reality of our life which as the ending of the film also displays flashes of a permanent question in the minds of the audience that all that is happening is it real or all is just a virtual reality confused as reality. The film hence revolves around the questions of true nature of knowledge and the possibilities of physical or material or spiritual emancipation.

These films are not merely experiments in aesthetics but also happens to be solid attempts at reflecting upon the true meaning of life thereby helping us to arrive at an understanding of the true nature of reality that enfolds our lives and the path to the ‘ultimate truth’ they project or advocate seems to be inspired by a natural manifestation and greater fulfillment in aesthetic representation of a much higher magnitude.

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