Contemplation and Cinema: Film through the Lens of Michael Oakeshott

Date

2023-05-04

Authors

Turner, Matthew

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Worldwide access

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Abstract

In recent years, the film industry has increasingly focused on entertaining blockbusters and films that preach a socio-political message. Can cinema be more than a means to an end? This thesis argues that, if properly approached, it can. Drawing on the work of philosopher Michael Oakeshott, specifically “The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind,” this thesis argues that cinema is valuable in itself and that it is corrupted when it serves a subsidiary end, such as profit or politics. The thesis begins by establishing an understanding of Oakeshott’s work, discussing the different modes of experience Oakeshott lays out, with poetry, or aesthetics, as his focus. After establishing that cinema does indeed fit Oakeshott’s description of poetry, the thesis discusses films that stray from this character. The thesis then discusses examples of contemplative cinema, concluding with a consideration of the aesthetic and spiritual benefits of approaching film contemplatively.

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Keywords

Philosophy, Film and Digital Media, Contemplation, Michael Oakeshott

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