Categories
Filmosophy Philosophy Thinking though Film

Plato’s Cave and the Cinema

In his Cave Allegory (Republic, c.360 BCE), Plato presents a strikingly visual account of the distinction between knowledge and belief and, in doing so, provides us with what may be considered the earliest picture-house.

Categories
Filmosophy

Bertolucci’s Cave: a Platonic reading of The Conformist

Halfway through Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (Il Conformista 1970) the protagonist, Marcello Clerici, visits the Parisian home of his former teacher, Professor Quadri. After entering his study, Clerici recounts Quadri’s lectures on Plato’s allegory of the Cave. This video-essay examines Bertolucci’s use of Plato’s cave imagery throughout the film.

Categories
Filmosophy

Abre los ojos (Open your eyes)

The arguments of French philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650) have had an enormous impact on philosophy. In what follows, Descartes arguments will be examined through the contemporary viewfinder of Alejandro Amenábar’s Abre los Ojos (1997). The intention, however, is not to use the film as a mere vehicle for conveying Descartes’ thought, but rather to consider whether the particular context that Amenábar provides, and the nature of film itself, can enhance our understanding and and provide fresh insight into the issues that Descartes raises.

Categories
Philosophy

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy begins with questions and, as such, a good place to start is with this often overlooked question concerning the nature of philosophy itself.  Strangely, for a discipline that places such great emphasis on defining and clarifying concepts, there is no unanimously agreed definition of what exactly philosophy is.  The term ‘philosophy’ in its literal sense means ‘love of wisdom’ and we know that there have been, throughout history, a great many men [sorry ladies] that we call philosophers who have written ‘philosophical’ works on a wide variety of subjects.  Perhaps then, we could just say that philosophy is the collected works of all of these philosophers.  However, this doesn’t really enlighten us as to what it is that all of these thinkers and works have in common; what is it that means that we categorize them as ‘philosophical’ rather than scientific, religious, historical, or whatever?