When ( Javier Bardem) Anton Chigurh character is projected in the film “No Country for Old Men”, he is shown to be a hitman who was remorseless. However he had a strange concept to perhaps justify his act of killing. That involved his belief in chance and destiny. During the span of whole film, he is shown to decide the fate of his victims by ‘flipping the coin’. The desined flip decides whether the person dies, even if the he is told in the movie by one of his client, “you don’t have to do it.” The movie which is based on the bool of same name, written by Cormac McCarthy, is infact a powerful example that seeps deeper into the psyche of audience and people at large and manages to stay alive long after the show is over.
Those who are in luck to have the capacity to decide, may not use the same for doing good. When we try to talk about the concept of existentialism in any form, we need to make sure that we lay down the basics of the philosophy clearly Then we can apply this idea in any possible field. When and person is free as well as responsible to take care of self-development keeping in mind the point of freedom, choice, individuality, responsibility and consciousness towards self, the boundary of this philosophy is understood to be covered conveniently. This has been forte of thinkers like Soren Kierkegaard and Jean Paul Sartre. Many others have followed the suit and have become a great help to peep into its relationship with other fields.
When we talk about other fields, the one that comes to mind is cinema because it is one medium that is persistent and consistent most of the individuals’ life. One way or the other we all are consuming, and synthesising the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, views depicted via this channel. Philosophy of films agrees with Deleuze that film has power to provoke the thought process Coming of Sartre into it provides an opportunity to explore cinema in a different philosophical context. His idea of existentialism has developed a very productive working boundary while interpreting a film. The early forties and early fifties need to be given visible credit for bringing the idea of existentialism in film upfront. The pallet of shooting these films was majorly in black and white with a rich texture to it, with dark shadows hindered with the neon light dribbling through blinds. The characters were evolved to be hard hitting with deep and hitting dialogues. Their character sketch was drawn to be almost living on edge surrounding with deep sexual tension. This was even termed as ‘film noir’. The genre which even today has the capacity to rise a feeling of emptiness and unrest in the audience watching and experiencing it. Since the budget was low and had its own set of complications while releasing due to the censorship restrictions regarding the deep depressive projection of life. However, despite these drawbacks, the films used to end up profiting and bad backing from the historical and political situations of the times. With the economy of the time being down the drain and people drowning further into the aftermaths of World wars and bombings and emerging and existing racial discrimination, that was the perfect timing for film noir to prevail and thrive over the bodies of broken political and human existence!
Writers, actors and directors like Joel and Ethan Coen, John Turturro, Steven Soderbergh and Woody Allen and many more have credibly taken the idea of existentialism forward in their own very creative formats. These films have made existential not just due to them catering the theme but also because of the prevailing culture all around at the time which have touched not only the elite but in fact even the common man, thus resonating with population at large. So, by concerning the happenings around, the tradition has still the capacity to flourish and become a stable part of cinema to understand the idea of philosophy of ‘existentialism’. Another movie, “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) which was an experimental venture of Stanley Kubrick. Herebthe dialogues and the plot of the film takes a back seat because the audience is awestruck by the powerful effects and visuals which dispalys the travel in space and its mysteries that are ready to unfold. For writer Pedro Blas Gonzalez this movie philosophise his idea of an “existential odyssey” Where the character Dr. David Bowman (Keir Dullea) tries to quench his thirst to explore space thus representing the neverending search for knowledge. Such movies may have wierd and sensless endings, however they make the viewers find their own logical meaning to it, justifying the concept of existentialism in a way. These are just few snippets of what the films hold and what is their actual capacity to impart a particular understanding that can enlighten, develop and even challenges the viewers so that they can move further as far as their understanding of different concepts and theories are concerned, even if unconsciously!