Why think about a film philosophically?

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Thinking philosophically about a film can help someone have a richer understanding about the film because it helps him or her understand the characters better. When the viewer is able to understand the characters, he or she feels more related to the character. This sentiment of relation allows for the viewer to become a more active participant and strengthens their engagement with the movie. For example, when the characters of Kris Kelvin and Anri Berton display their reality through their perception of emotions and experiences, the viewer begins to contemplate about the consequences of perception. He or she will begin to wonder how that perception will be a factor in the film. In this case, the viewer understands that Berton’s perception provides him with an unusual report for the doctors, which plays a role in the journey of Kris Kelvin. The viewer also gets to see how Kris’ perception of Hari causes him to change throughout the movie, and it even deceives him a little. A better understanding of the characters that in turn causes the viewer to become more engrossed with the movie is just one beneficial product of thinking philosophically about a movie.

Thinking about a movie philosophically also provides for a richer understanding of the messages and meanings that the director is attempting to convey. When casually watching the movie Solaris, it is easy to become disinterested by its glacial pace and slough it off as a merely boring and uninteresting film. However, this casual viewing tends to cause many people to miss the deeper philosophical ideas and teachings that Tarkovsky is trying to portray in the movie. When actually concentrating on thinking in a philosophical sense while watching the film, it enhances the entire experience that the viewer has. It allows for one to develop a greater appreciation for and understanding of the subtleties that Solaris offers, and this way of thinking also causes the spectator to question the acute meanings behind the actions and relationships of the characters. For instance, the relationship between Dr. Kelvin and the extraterrestrial, hallucinatory manifestation of his wife, Hari, exhibits a fundamentally profound question about the nature of love: do we love the actual person or the idea of that person? The ending of the film shows Hari and Kelvin together again in an ambiguously happy finale. However, when considered further, one can see a more disturbing scene taking place. Both Hari and Kelvin could be “guests” conjured up by Solaris from the memories of the perished, which in this case are the fantasies of Hari and Kelvin living on happily as they had before death. By resorting to the casual, haphazard method of viewing films, one can see that the average onlooker would fail to recognize this vital question and the philosophical importance that Solaris yields. Therefore, it becomes imperative to seek a more fertile understanding of movies by contemplating their philosophical significance.

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Why think about a film philosophically?

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