When we are grieving, is it a good idea or a bad idea to engage with art that takes grief to be its subject? Does this help us to cope, or does it rip out whatever stitches we have managed to sew in while we try to bear an unbearable loss?
What Is It
What recent movies artfully explored philosophical ideas and questions, or complicated political or ethical issues that previously seemed straightforward? Josh and guest co-host Jeremy Sabol present our annual Dionysus Awards for the most thought-provoking films of 2021, including:
- Best Attempt to Redeem 80+ Years of Questionable Ethics
- Best Film about Complicated Mothers Telling Uncomfortable Truths
- Best Adapted Novel about Trauma, Marginalization, Self-Deception, and the Gap Between Appearance and Reality
In this episode, Josh and Jeremy present the ninth annual Dionysus Awards for their favorite, most philosophically thought-provoking movies of the year. They begin by comparing “The Lost Daughter” and “Parallel Mothers” for the category of Best Film About Complicated Mothers Telling Uncomfortable Truths. Josh and Jeremy agree that the award should go to “Parallel Mothers” for its ability to combine the story of two mothers with a larger national story of civilian killings in Spain, which are tied together through the theme of truth-telling.
Next, the philosophers welcome Alex King, Professor of Philosophy at Simon Fraser University, to the show to discuss the nominees for Best Adapted Novel About Trauma, Marginalization, Self-Deception, and the Gap Between Appearance and Reality. She compares the similarities between “The Power of the Dog” and “Passing” — the time period and having two main characters as foils to one another. In the end, Alex gives the award to “Passing” for its well-crafted use of intentional ambiguity.
In the last segment of the show, Josh and Jeremy hear nominations from the audience as well as from Ray Briggs, a regular co-host of Philosophy Talk. Listeners award “The Last Duel” with Best Rashomon-Style Film About Patriarchal Domination with an Existentialist Hero and “Cuties” with Film that Uses Looking to Get Beyond Looking. Ray highlights the recent motif of strong female leads and global characters in Disney movies “Encanto” and “Cruella,” and the latter receives the Dionysus Award for Best Effort to Redeem 80 Years of Questionable Movie History for its intentional complexity.
- Roving Philosophical Report (Seek to 1:24) → Holly J. McDede finds the philosophy in the docuseries “The Beatles: Get Back.”
Welcome to Philosophy Talk, the program that questions everything
except your intelligence. I'm Jeremy Sabol sitting in for Ray Briggs.