An uncut, feature-length discussion about the movie medium; packed with bonus content––and LOTS of movies.
Part 1 Embedded-Archetype Recycling
More so than any other medium, the motion picture – also known as film, cinema, and most commonly, movies – has the capacity to convey ideas and themes whilst bypassing the viewer’s awareness of having done so; meaning that even the reception of the content generally remains unperceived, i.e. let alone its affect and techniques thereof. This principle can be observed by the substratum of archetypal themes from which movie* narratives are constructed upon; by the industrial recycling of these archetypes, evident in movies that are differentiated by time and genre; and by the common obliviousness to embedded elements and the pervasiveness of this practice.
*Although most of this article concerns movies, the discussion generally applies to television fiction too, particularly since it has become more cinematic in recent years. Movie narratives, however, are the primary form of embedded-archetype recycling.
I have termed the principle behind this practice ‘embedded-archetype recycling’, where “archetype” refers to a type of character or theme that is ancient, or at least pre-modern (hence being adapted into modern form); where “embedded” refers to the concealment of the archetypes within the overt narrative; and where “recycling” refers to the institutional practice of reapplying these archetypes to the narratives of “new” movies (hence, archetypes pervade the medium irrespective of era divergences and genre differences between movies).
Over the last century, general discourse concerning the topic of ‘free will’ has become increasingly more pronounced in Western culture—a trend that reflects the rapid development of societal complexity during this period: for especially since the postmodern era, the organisational phenomena of bureaucracy, specialisation, and compartmentalisation have intensified the diffusion not only of responsibility but also of knowledge. Concomitantly, scientific theory has supplanted philosophy as the locus of epistemology, producing theoretical phenomena such as relativity and quantum mechanics and instilling them into the foundation of Western ideology. Effectively, such theories have undermined not just traditional knowledge and wisdom but the very basis for their acquisition, i.e. the subjective perception of an objective reality. In concert, postmodern developments have thus created a culture of disintegrating knowledge and implicit indeterminacy, wherein matters both philosophical and practical are deemed – tacitly more so than explicitly – to be fundamentally uncertain. Crucially, this ideological domination includes the dimension of institutional contradiction; as in, for example, the periodical turnover of scientific axioms, many of which are treated as dogma until they have been deemed falsified and replaced by new axiomatic ‘truths’. Within this culture of impenetrable systemisation and philosophical confusion, the question of free will has arisen to prominence: For at least the last half-century, Western culture has been affirming an inherent inability to determine anything at all, let alone an ideology that is clear, consistent, and stable. Adversely, it has instilled a societal paradigm of reactionary measures against the flux of indeterminable existence, which thus represents the postmodern ideology of Western culture—an ideological inversion of Ideology.