Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Philosophers on Film)
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the most widely discussed and thought-provoking films of recent years.
This is the first book to explore and address the philosophical aspects of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Beginning with a helpful introduction that places each essay in context, specially commissioned chapters examine the following topics:
- philosophical issues surrounding love, friendship, affirmation and repetition
- the role of memory (and the emotions) in personal identity and decision-making
- the morality of imagination and ethical importance of memory
- philosophical questions about self-knowledge and knowing the minds of others
- the aesthetics of the film considered in relation to Gondry’s other works and issues in the philosophy of perception
Including a foreword by Michel Gondry and a list of further reading, this volume is essential reading for students interested in philosophy and film studies.
like about you right now. CLEMENTINE: But you will. You will think of things. And I’ll get bored with you and feel trapped because that’s what happens with me. JOEL: Okay. (Pause.) CLEMENTINE: Okay. JOEL: These final “okays,” which are the last words spoken in the film, are hesitant, uncertain, and somewhat tremulous—but in light of all that faces the lovers they strike a courageous, even thrilling note of affirmation and endorsement. Indeed, the entire episode may well be viewed as a
in their silent appraisal of each other, a possible companion in grief. They have no alertness to each other’s distress signals, and cannot therefore imagine this distress as a possible key to self-recognition. The “new” person is viewed instead as a relief from the burden of knowing, or being known, a light escape from the burden of heavy, nameless emotion. Joel and Clementine will turn a troubling doubt about what ails them into a trifling suspense about how to gain another’s favorable
hostility and distrust will win out over your warmer feelings and oblige you to leave me, or inflict other kinds of lasting damage, I cannot shake the conviction that even your committed enmity wishes me well. Your undoing of me will somehow involve whatever I have been able to recognize and feel as love. Repeated viewings of Joel’s and Clementine’s ungainly conversation on the return trip from Montauk suggest how completely film narrative fulfills Nietzsche’s terrifying utopian dream of “eternal
intent on being exact, images separate themselves from the general flow, and strike us so forcefully that it seems we are only now beginning to behold what is in them. We secure new, possibly stronger memories from a narrative that has been well digested and whose power to work surprises seems vanquished. I am tantalized by the Nietzschean paradox of how a fated repetition of everything in a life (the old embarrassments, losses, defeats, physical maladies, and tedium that come round once more to
which Gondry repeatedly upsets comfortable philosophical assumptions by utilizing highly creative manipulations of the images that appear within a movie frame. In his music videos, Gondry forces viewers to become aware of their implicit assumptions about both cinematic and ordinary perception by INTRODUCTION 11 offering surprising reversals: optical effects manifest literal “traces” in space and time; doublings and repetitions that could be easily accomplished through optical or digital