Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Apocalypse in Cinema



As we discussed in class, the end of the world is a perennial favorite for blockbuster, and increasingly, indie films.  Apocalyptic ideas were popularized through the early Christian church and powered the Middle Ages, as the ascendancy of Catholicism owes much to a pliable laity who lived in fear of judgement and damnation at Christ's imminent return.  While Protestant Christianity took a variety of forms the Puritans refined the idea of apocalypse as a continual impending threat through such works as The Day of Doom, America's first best seller.  To this day American writers look to this trope as a way to spin a tale.  The apocalypse, regardless of religious affiliation, is part of our shared language.  As fictional narrative such a high-stakes tale makes for fine entertainment.  But as part of the collective unconscious the implicit risks are revealed in short-sighted political decisions.  Were we thinking more long-term, perhaps we would not be facing an environmental crisis.

The Los Angeles Times recently did an interesting round up of recent films centered on an apocalyptic theme.  I encourage you to read this to further contextualize the discussions we will be pursing in class over the course of the semester.

There's no end of apocalypse movies

2 comments:

  1. http://www.apocalypticmovies.com/movie-index/
    There is even an entire website dedicated to apocalypse movies. Its interesting that the apocalypse was such a religious idea in the past but religion plays no part in most movies about it.

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  2. Americans have been exposed to so many apocalyptic books, movies, etc- it is only natural that we continue this trend of interest.
    Human nature is automatically drawn to the unknown. The Puritans considered the forest to be the unknown- a place of evil... yet so many stories from the Puritan era revolve around the forest. I guess we are always interested in what we do not know...but let us not forget that curiousity killed the cat.

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