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« Richard Norman on Humanism | Main | Richard Tuck on Free Riding »

February 03, 2008


Joel Gunz

Hi there -

Loved your episode on Film as Philosophy. I've long felt that Alfred Hitchcock was, perhaps, the best practitioner of this - that his films can be experienced as treatises on the meaning of filmmaking, "filmic reality" and so on. "Sabotage" (1936), for instance, explores the psychologically nihilistic implications of filmmaking, while "Rear Window" famously delved in to the subject of filmmaking as voyeurism. Nearly all of his films have similar psychological stuffing.

I've actually got a blog dedicated to just this subject. Feel free to drop by. In any event, I hope you explore this some more in future podcasts!


Joel Gunz

Joel Gunz

My mistake: I meant to refer to Hitch's films being replete with philosophical stuffing -- though there's plenty of psychology in them too!


Mat Ranson

Great interview and topic.

I'm particularly interested in why Bladerunner was concentrated on, and not any other examples of films, which would have given a wider scope to the application of "Film As Philosophy"?

Also what Stephen Mulhall describes as components and characters in a story which describe the medium of film surely allude as much to the story in the original book as much, if not more, than they do in the adapted screenplay for the film?

I'd be interested to hear more about whether this philosophy can be applied to films which never had a book preceding them: no prior story. Whether this particular line of thinking can include the CRAFT of film making. Examples of this might be the recent Stranger Than Fiction or Adaptation, both of which use scriptwriting and filmmaking as techniques alone to speak to the watching audience about the characteristic nature of cinema.


I'm very glad you had an episode covering film as philosophy! Many times I give a film credit based on the message, but not as the vehicle delivering it. (I'm also glad "Rear Window" was mentioned above)
I wonder what Dr. Mulhall might say about "The Purple Rose of Cairo?" It is a film within a film in which the director is likened to God, and the creations (the characters) rebel against their nature.
Thank you for putting the podcast out there on iTunes.

Paul Sagar

Excellent bite, one of the best so far.

I only wish you could Dr Mulhall could talk about THE speech in THAT scene, or THAT piece of origami at the end of the director's cut! Except I know that this would ruin much of the incredible impact (and depth) of the film for those who have yet to watch it.

Alas, I will make a request in lieu of a bite that would be a terrible spoiler for those who have yet to see Blade Runner themselves: Dr Mulhall, when you write On Philosophy of Film 2, please can Blade Runner have its own extended chapter!!


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