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The Importance of Philosophy In Film – And Need It Be?

Should there be philosophy in film? In philosophy we observe ourselves, truths and life’s big picture, should films also be another philosophical searching ground? Should the narrative in film be a messenger or the voice of conscience in one form or another before they can be taken seriously? Not necessarily…

Most of us have been conditioned by the mainstream to expect some sort of moral lesson from all we indulge in. What we usually read in a film and what was originally intended in a film are usually two completely different things. Storytellers of all sorts vary extremely and have a huge spectrum of morel incentives, some ranging to no morel incentive at all and some driven dutifully through the profound philosophy of our human state. 

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“Some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright.” — Arnold Bennett, The Shawshank Redemption.

Is it the uneducated, uninformed audience that only see a sermon in morality, when by all intentions the message was purely for enabling the viewer or reader to discover and decide for ourselves? Sometimes the real point is that when the real philosophical questions come along, we possibly are not listening. Film shouldn’t be about teaching us how to respect others and so on, (for humanity should already be past this development), but to explore far newer territory – be it objective or subjective.

Films of all types can be philosophically important without lessons. The jigsaw pieces of narrative in a couple of hours usually cannot get past us without an ‘unintended’ lesson in life or question of our psyche. A look, a grimace, or the tone in the voice of a sideline character can lend weight philosophically, and to others – mean absolutely nothing. Where we are in life is the big question. Escaping our own lives and empathically journeying with someone or something we identify with can simply be our further nourishment of the human psyche we were craving – aware or unaware. 

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The films that scream ‘big morality questions’ can be the films that camouflage the real lessons we stumble upon in our own way and eradicate our natural human need to judge so quickly. Dig for the not so obvious and we continually discover new philosophical gems over and over.

“The past is just a story we tell ourselves.” — Samantha, Her

Lucid Being