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On Being Philosophical and "Being John Malkovich" Author(s): Daniel Shaw Reviewed work(s): Source: The Journal of Aesthetics

and Art Criticism, Vol. 64, No. 1, Special Issue: Thinking through Cinema: Film as Philosophy (Winter, 2006), pp. 111-118 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The American Society for Aesthetics Stable URL: . Accessed: 22/03/2012 18:26
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for most of the twentieth centurythe cinema was seldom seen as aspiring to such lofty goals. Alternatively. while offering an originalreadingof Being John Malkovich(Spike Jonze. The typical philosophicalarticleon film pairs some philosopher's theory with one (or more) of the author's favorite films to demonstrate how the theory can enhance our understanding and appreciation of the films. For example. At another level of sophistication. 1982) that saw it as "explicitly concerned with what it is to be a human being. Philosophers first started writing about such films in the 1960s. as Thomas Wartenbergobserved in a recent edition of Film and Philosophy: "Not only has the artfilm been eclipsed as an avant garde film practice.for example. an intriguingnotion of what makes a film worthy of philosophical attention was proposed in the premiere edition of Film and Philosophy (1994) by Stephen Mulhall. but contemporary philosophic work on film has moved beyond it as well. then the film can be consideredphilosophical.DANIEL SHAW On Being Philosophical and Being John Malkovich One of the most puzzling and intriguing questions to emerge in the philosophical conversationaboutfilm is preciselywhatit meansto say that a film can be philosophical. and philosophers of film evaluate whether the film in questionis an adequateor inadequateembodiment of that philosophy.2He offered a reading of Blade Runner(Ridley Scott. a film seems shoehornedinto a model that does not really fit. the question has been framed as follows: Can a film actually do philosophy. a film can be shown to instantiate a philosophical theory or principle. One of the many unfortunateconsequences of the high art-lowartdivide is thatwhile works of literaturehave long been consideredcapable of being philosophical. no doubt because of the intellectualrespectabilityof their existential and/orpolitical content. whose recent book on the Alien quadrilogy plays such a central role in contemporary debates on the subject.Often. The following essay provides a summaryof variousways films have been describedas being philosophical(or as doingphilosophy)by surveyin ing articlesthathave appeared the printjournal Film and Philosophy since its inception over a decadeago. especially when profounddepthreadingsareproposedfor pieces that of mass entertainment cannot sustainthem. except for the art films directed by the likes of Ingmar Bergman or Jean-Luc Godard.3 However.adequatelyframing the question is the hardestpartof the task. as the parallels drawn seem more or less natural (or strained). the implicit assumptionseems to be thatif Here." and as self-consciously philosophical. the subgenre of science fiction that deals with robots and cyborgs characteristicallyraises such questions."' Philosophersarebecoming increasinglymore comfortable talking about popular Hollywood films. Fyodor Dostoevsky has long been praised for being a truly philosophicalwriter. and less often. Such pairings strike us as more or less convincing. in some important sense of that term?As is often the case in such matters. But. 1999) as a paradigmatic exemplarof what it is for a film to be capableof doingphilosophy. certain directorshave made films with a particular philosophy explicitly in his rhetorically brilliant portrayals of the catastrophic . I will thenproposethat"beingphilosophical" admits of degrees.

Similarly. Carrollseems to suggest. professed love for Sartre. Allen's undergraduate degree in philosophy. (2) a film is philosophical if our understanding of it can be deepened (and/or our appreciationof it can be enhanced)by applying preexistentphilosophicaltheoriesto it. When they do." Sander Lee identifies "Sartrean Themes in Husbands and Wives" and praises Allen for his ability to embody them so how Allen fully. Alternatively. they can rightly be praised for doing philosophy. Noel Carroll. JeroldJ. On this view. Before turning to my reading of that work. One of the most philosophically interestingfilms to find a substantial audience in recent years is Being John Malkovich. can help us understand this difficult concept. that is. rather than urging a particulartheory. The second and third senses in which a film can be philosophical have been belittled recently by a proponent of the first. Films can ask genuinely philosophical questions.4Lee convincinglydemonstrates intentionally exemplified Jean-Paul Sartre's pessimistic views on love. the mere fact thatRolandBarthescan offer us an enlightening semiological analysis of fashion does not make fashion philosophical. phicalin his (overlydemanding) I think he has construed what is essentially a matterof degree as a black-and-whitesituation. According to Carroll. 1941). 1992) is a truly philosophical picture because Allen chose Sartreanthemes that he grasped clearly and took personally and expressed them successfully in a cinematic context. Mulhall is at great pains to specify his paradigmatic account of film as philosophy so that he can contend that films should not be seen as grist for one's philosophical interpretivemill. Welles intended to raise the question. that Kane is one of the most profound movies ever made in well as offer new ways of viewing (and sometimes new answers to) such questions.112 consequences of nihilism in The Possessed. then. in Volume 1 of Film and Philosophy. comes up with a novel solution to the ambiguityaboutthe essence of the human personality that emerges from Citizen Kane (Orson Welles. Various writershave remarkedthat this or that particular film asked genuinely philosophical questions. which. Woody Allen's ThinkingThroughCinema:Film as Philosophy He is equally disdainful of directors who seek merely to illustrate philosophical positions (they fail to be true philosophers). Similar praise is offered in several of the articles on Allen that were included in the special edition of Film and Philosophy (2000) that was guest edited by Lee. or of atheism in The Brothers Karamazov. nor does Woody Allen's skillful depiction of Sartreanthemes in Husbands and Wives constitute doing philosophy. Husbands and Wives (Woody Allen. For Lee. and recurrent allusions to Sartrean themes makes this applicationof theory to film far more convincing than if the director and/or screenwriterwere likely to be unfamiliarwith the philosopherin question. (2) a film is more philosophical if it is an explicit (and successful) attempt by a director to illustrate a philosophical theory or concept." It is for this reason. In the same vein. those that are capable of making a real contributionto ongoing philosophical inquiries into that issue. we have three answers to the question of what makes a film philosophical: (1) a film is philosophical if it furthers our inquiries into philosophical questions and concerns. for example. not solve it. to problematize personal identity rather than define it. as my paradigm of how films can be an articlefor Volume . in Interpreting the Moving Image. Allen's films can be describedas philosophicalbecause they are explicitly informed by philosophical concepts and theories. From this perspective. we need to examine some furtherexamples of how films have been said to be "trulyphilosophical. So far. Stephen Mulhall argues in On Film that neither (2) nor (3) are adequate to earn a film the honorific designation of doing philosophy. Abrams. and (3) a film is philosophical if it self-consciously mirrorsa philosophical theory. Although I agree with Mulhall that films can be philososense of the term. and finally (3) the most profoundly philosophical films are those that further the conversation of mankind (to use Richard Rorty's apt phrase) about the topic in question. I would like to propose the following hierarchy:(1) a film is (minimally) philosophical if it can fruitfully (and plausibly) be interpreted from a philosophical perspective that can enhance our understandingand appreciation of it.

Woody Allen is doing precisely that in Husbands and Wives."7Apparently. and hence of film as philosophizing ratherthan as raw material or ornamentation for a philosopher's work. one of the best ways for a film to be philosophical is to have its characters engaged in an existential crisis or genuine philosophical inquiry. which explains why I believe it is one of the most intriguingly philosophical films to have been made in recent years. In his response to criticalreviews of On Film first posted on the Film-Philosophy website. doing philosophy does not require films to offer new reasons (in the sense of deductivearguments)for philosophical our positions.8 the film exemplifies Sartre's theory of love. it is not doing philosophy. t~I FIGURE Is he Malkovich or Dr. which is reminiscent of Mulhall's view: "If a film is used to illustrate philosophical positions.9Although I would argue that Allen's film is philosophical.he contends that the filmmakers self-consciously address questions about the nature of the cinematic medium. a film can be said to be doing philosophyin the sense he prefers."6 In Volume 8 of the same publication. Lester? 1. ratherthan deductively sound argumentsthat could command universalassent. Much like Sartre's own plays. Friedrich Nietzsche is recognized as a profound philosopher (indeed. but does not elaborate on or develop it beyond the philosopher's original conceptions.. As Mulhall persuasively argues in the response to his critics cited above. Granger makes the following observation. 1963) is truly philosophical because its main characteris embroiled in a genuine existential crisis that could go either way (despite the fact that Alain (Maurice Ronet) ends up killing himself. to have a body. on extremely rare occasions. Dostoevsky furthered understanding of the meaning of the death of God and the threatof nihilism in the late nineteenthcentury without offering many new arguments in rational theology (Ivan Karamazov's compelling version of the problem of evil is perhaps the only exception). or voice philosophical arguments. by actuallymaking a positive contributionto the philosophical dialogue on the issue. .that is. 1954) is a sublime film. and reprintedin a special edition of Film and Philosophy (2005) on science fiction. that is.considerthe of following interpretation Being JohnMalkovich.. it does not ask deeper questions or propose new concepts or perspectives that Sartrehad not himself formulatedpreviously. What they both offered us were opposing gestalten. but I do agree with him that. [like the recent. ways of viewing the world. in that it accurately depicts Sartre's challenging notions at work in convincing existential situations (no small accomplishment). the results of which do not come off as predetermined by some priortheory. it is clear that he could have doneotherwise had he concluded that his life was worth living).Shaw On Being Philosophical and Being John Malkovich 7 of Film and Philosophy. I do not shareMulhall's apparentdisdain for the other ways a film can be interestingphilosophically. Mulhall shares Granger'santipathyfor interpretations that use films as fodder for theory. in the best sense of the term. because they raise questions about what it means to be human. the aesthetic phenomenon of the sequel. for Granger. Furthermore. and to be gendered. disastrous The 113 MatrixReloaded]. and for directorsthat merely seek to exemplify some theory or other. and overlapping genre notions."'1He argues that entries in the Alien series can usefully be seen as philosophiz- ing. as one of the most influential philosophers in the last hundredyears) despite the relative paucity of traditionalargumentsin his work. in part because it "calls into question the relationbetween the spectatorand the object.Herbert GrangerarguesthatLe Feu Follet (Louis Malle. contends that Rear Window(Alfred Hitchcock. it merely serves to reflect the views of the director. that is. Mulhall acknowledges that one of the goals of publishing his book was to convince us to "thinkof at least some films as philosophy in action.11 To clarify what I mean by a film doing philosophy.and not those of his characters.

identical twins have the same DNA but differentpersonal identities (except in Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg. When one enters the portal. and bothphysicalandpsychological theories. he or she has temporaryaccess to John's sensory stream. accountingfor all the major puzzles that it raises. and undergoing his pains.embracingthe spiritualsubstance of Cartesiandualism. Lesterhas used the portalbefore to somehow transferhis consciousness out of his previousbodies (as they wore out) into more youthful vessels. overhearing his utterancesfrom within (so to speak).12Rehearsing the fundamentals of same-soul theories. hence achieving a kind of serialimmortality. if so. Then the subjects are physically ejected out into a ditch adjacentto the New Jersey turnpike.'3 Because souls are. who mines it for his own personalgain. The viewer must first accept the fabulouspremise thatmakes possible the transformationto which the title refers: a magical (and totally unexplained)portal exists that allows one to be the noted actor John Malkovich for a quarterof an hour (granting such participantstheir own fifteen minutes of fame!). choosing instead to focus on several crucial philosophical concepts that the film mobilizes. 2000). Lester(OrsonBean). enjoying his pleasures. Litch then proceeds to oversimplify things by claiming that the psychological continuitytheory (which defines personalidentity in terms of the privacy of memory.they do not allow us to do one of the major tasks for which such criteria are proposed:reidentify particularindividuals over time.identify individuals by the presence of a spiritual consciousness unique to them alone. Besides.Can these individuals accurately be described as having enjoyed being John Malkovich? And. Besides the unfortunate drawback that physicalism seems to imply determinism. as well as long-standing dispositions and continuingpersonalitycharacteristics) "meshes well" with the film. Such miraculoustransformations occur only can before midnight on the day when the vessel is ripe. even if updatedto include our DNA. Mary textbook Litch." the "same-soul" theory of personal identity had already taken its critical licks. They can remainin the "Malkovich vessel" permanentlyand manipulate the poor man's bodyto do theirwishes. who apparently "owns" the portal. to all intentsandpurposes. Malkovichis destined (for whateverreason)to be his next incarnation.was he a new ghost in Malkovich's machine? Were both present simultaneously? Perhapsfor pedagogical purposes. When Craig takes over Malkovich's body and makes it do his bidding. Long before Gilbert Ryle lampooned Descartes's view as "The Ghost in the Machine. as illustrativeof various theories of personalidentity and/or as challenges thereto. the lucky individual gets to experience the world through Malkovich's senses. what makes us the same identifiable person on this view is our continuing physical presence over time (like Descartes's ball of wax). the appropriate moment is missed. the forty-fourthbirthday of its original If inhabitant. in Litch's words. and lose themselves therein. will individualsseekingmetamorphosis end up in a "larval vessel" (a newborn infant). Same-soul theories.cease to be. While it is true that certainaspects are adequatelyexplainedby this approach (Malkovich looks and sounds a lot like Craig soon after the puppeteer takes over. Dr.Submergedin such a vessel. along . can do much more. and Craig Schwartz (John Cusack). in her instructiveundergraduate Philosophy ThroughFilm. "enigmaticbeasts" (unobservableentities whose very existence is unprovable). Being John Malkovich has already attracted the attention of several philosophers.1988)). continuity Litch applies each in their turn to Malkovich. For thatbrief period of time. Malkovich's body presumably retains the same DNA no matter how many personalities occupy (or even command) his "vessel. I will not attempt to offer one here. which seems much simpler and more plausible." Yet he is a very different person by the end of the film. the unluckyindividualwill be assimilatedand.however. in what sense of the term? Two of the pivotal charactersin the story.Hence. this hypothesiscannotanswerthe question of what it is to be John Malkovich. Lester after seven years of Being John Malkovichis unarguablyone of the most inventive films of the last decade and as such it defies easy summary. Physical continuitytheories ground personal identity in material substance. seeing the world through what appearsto be a set of goggles. and like Dr. uses the film.114 "II ThinkingThroughCinema:Film as Philosophy with Memento (ChristopherNolan.

Having migrated into a larval vessel. to which he alone has access. Hence. Doing so after midnight. ineffectually whimpering his undying love for Maxine and wishing in vain that Emily would turn her head away from her beloved parents. goggled observers of Lester's ongoing life. When I first saw this film. Craig continues to exist. Armed with my new explanatoryhypothesis (which I still believe has substantialphilosophic and textual merit). uses him to be with Maxine. he is destined to be a powerless observerfor the rest of his life. and how particularindividuals are chosen as vessels ripe for occupation. we are shown a Malkovich who has been occupied by Dr. including how the portal originated. Lester obtained ownershipof it. This. I'd say it's "UsingJohn Malkovich. thoughts. and by the reasons and values that explain why he chooses to do what he does. since no one (save for the brief exception noted above) had gained access to his thoughts and/ormemories. he He of has the experience usingMalkovich.So it's "Using notoriety get his own career John Malkovich. Craigresolves to reenter the portal and wrest control of the Malkovich vessel. can the original Malkovich still be said to exist after all those years of such total submersion? If so.and then he uses Malkovich's to going. is comic fantasy. were thinking of personal identity as defined by the will as agent acting on the body as instrument. who is destinedto become Lester's next target). at best. The implications of that theory seem to be clear. even after he enters the passageway. when Dr. Lester takes over even more completely than Craig ever could. After exiting Malkovichand giving him up to Dr. and the real identity of Malkovich is defined by what he does. I looked up interviews with Kaufmanto confirmmy theory. they (and he) are. I thoughtthe answerto the puzzle was clear:the key to being John Malkovich was to be the will behind the actions of the Malkovich vessel. not science fiction. Kaufman'sremarkstend to supportthe psychological continuity theory: what makes John Malkovich who he is are his memories. The crucial point for me was when Craig took control. you areinsidesomeoneelse's skin. a great many questions are left unanswered. Then. Following the lead of Thomas Nagel (in his acclaimed article "What is it Like to Be a Bat?"). once Craig gets control over the body. The mechanics of the process. If he continues on with his previous mode of operation. he instead enters into Emily (the newborn love child of his wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) and business partner Maxine (Catherine Keener). can remain unexplained. Lester/Malkovich has marriedhis old secretary(Mary Kay Place) and sounds a whole lot like his original self. at a minimum. As Mary Litch saw. Several philosophic questions seem to beg for our attention. however. how it accomplishesits miraculous feat. So what has happened to the "real" John Malkovich? If Lester exits the body only when it breathes its last. The originalMalkovichceases to exist (or. I suggest that what it is like to be John Malkovich would have to include accessing his . Well." [laughs]14 He made this point after having already observed that the only time anyone ever gets a glimpse of the real Malkovich is when (hilariously) Lotte chases Maxine with a gun through his unconscious mind. If anyone other than the original can truly stake his claim to being John Malkovich. It would actually be a kind of existential theory of personal identity: we are what we do. Lester and his geriatriccrew. desires. and writer Charlie Kaufman. where has he (the original) gone? If he never regains control over his body. we get a reverse shot from Craig's goggled perspective. after all. Lester for seven years. In the finale.Here is what he had to say.but Craig of doesn'thavethe experience beingMalkovich. and so forth. as the seven-year-old is shown gazing adoringly at her two mothers. no one had truly succeeded in being John Malkovich. can we say that he remains John Malkovich? What about all the other personalities that have transmigratedinto Malkovich's body? They seem to be as lost as he is. it is Lester. I was convinced that Jonze. how Dr. Near the end of the film." Yeah. is suppressed). he will occupy Malkovich until the body of the former actor breathes its last. transforminghimself from just another passive observer of Malkovich's actions into the internal puppeteer that pulled the strings.Shaw On Being Philosophical and Being John Malkovich 115 being inhabited by him and his geriatric friends).

As Kaufmandescribed the eponymous actor in the above-referencedinterview. a dauntingprospect when we realize that there are no grounds for our choices other than the strengthof our individualwills. Malkovich's personality seems totally lost to Lester's. He still has longing thoughts about Maxine. You never really know what's going on behind his eyes. both in his professionaland in his personallife.15Once others show themselves capable of taking over Malkovich's body. in Nietzsche's words: "'Unfree will' is a mythology: in real life it is only a question of strong and weak wills. which was proposed by Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil. One doubts that Emily herself is even aware of this other consciousness submerged ThinkingThroughCinema:Film as Philosophy within her."'6Becoming who we are hence requires resolute service to a self-made set of priorities. There. Lester manage to take over each successive vessel. The one that wins is the one that leads to action. Craig still exists.when all the other subjects could only stay for fifteen minutes and only watch and listen? Craig's history as a puppeteeris alluded to as the basis for his skill. Lester and his cronies. What about Lester's previous incarnation? We never see or hear anotherconsciousness peer out from behindLester's countenance. is that. It makes no sense to talk about the original Malkovich's psychological does Dr. After seven years of being submerged under Dr. Nietzsche describes the individual as a bundle of power drives. after seven years of passively observing someone else's life." Malkovich seldom portrays strong-willed characters. Lester is the ultimate victor. Malkovich ceases to exist when Lester takes permanentcontrol. ensuring his immortality?What is clear.116 consciousness. so it becomes fascinating. Yet the psychological continuity theory cannot account for who takes control of that body at various points in the film. their most basic characteristicis the attempt to incorporate into themselves and define all that they meet. it seems to me. If the personal identity of an individual is defined as the will that governs the actions of a particular body.has always emerged something for the sake of which it is worthwhile to live on earth. to all intents and purposes(an apt phrase). to the point of his having adopted the latter's speech patterns and romantic tastes. since he has no way to operationalize them. Noticehow the criteria who JohnMalkovich for is in the later sections of the film seem to turn on whose will commands the body over which the protagonistsare wrestling. We are our actions. except when playing the occasional villain (for example his pitiless depiction of the scheming Gilbert Osmond in Jane Campion's Portrait of a Lady (1996)). Craig temporarily triumphs. In Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transformation.. "there's something odd and completely unknowable about him..ceased to exist. but why would this be relevant? For that matter. We are never given any further access to his thoughts.. one has to wonder if his psyche even continues to exist. The choice of John Malkovich was not an accidental one on the part of the writer and director. all vying for dominance.. having trouble deciding about bath towels and allowing . How does Craig succeed in reducing Malkovich to the status of a marionette. Craig has disappeared. but Dr. both Craig Schwartz and the original John Malkovich have. he does not put up much of a fight before he is overwhelmed by his occupiers. In the presentfilm. and the ability to become who we are turns on our strength of will. our concerns shift from what it is like to be John Malkovich to who this strangely amalgamated creaturetruly is in the end. and I think that works for this story. Similarly. never to be seen again. in fact at organisms and matter in general.Malkovich is an enigmatic chameleon. It is his will that governs the Malkovich vessel in the long run."'8 Malkovich himself was weak willed in the extreme. Tracy Strongcomes up with as clear a characterization of what Nietzsche means by "Will" as any in the secondaryliterature:"Nietzsche is saying that if one looks at people. but he can have no further effects on eitherEmily's body or on the external world. All this reminded me of the theory of the individual as comprised of a hierarchy of dominant and submissive drives. True. And."17In the struggle for domination. especially in facing the crucial challenge of upholding a particular hierarchy of such drives over time: "The Essential thing 'in heaven and upon earth' seems. seven years after merging with Emily. Despite a continued friendship with be a pro- tractedobedience in one direction:from out of that there.

is that Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufmanwere (among other things) doing philosophy in Being John Malkovich. Malkovich's consciousness has been renderedimpotent and epiphenomenal. challenging our simpler and more comforting notions of who and what we are. This eloquently captures the ideal of artistic creation championed by Robin George Collingwood. in the sense that Mulhall privileges exclusively and that I have arguedis the paradigmof film at its most philosophical.20 personal identity based on a more adequate account of the natureof the humanwill can yet be formulated. but it also characterizesan inquirPerhapsa theory of ing philosophicalattitude.butthatisn'twhatendsup on explore it's a the screen.I do a without it putsme in a position of challenging myself. nor the makers of Being John Malkovich. John Malkovich has effectively(in the literal sense of the term) ceased to be. Jonze and Kaufmanwere indeed doing philosophy. offering the "genuine physiopsychology" that Nietzsche called for but only gestured at in Beyond Good and Evil. the first reincarnation the Captainwho built the office of building and the quirky 7/2 th floor that houses the portal). Nietzsche's theory of the "Will to Power. As Kaufmandescribedhis creative process in the interview cited above: then If I putdisparate together. which sees the self as defined by its actions and the projects and values to which we dedicate ourselves. it might also be said that. myselfandhavingto surprise I'd like to clarify something. without a trace of Malkovich's oddly distinctive features. so. lending some credence to Maxine's rather implausible notion (given its implication that a transformation had occurredat the level of DNA). existentialist theory of personalidentity." then. Their work serves to complicate traditional dualistic conceptions of body and spirit. after several viewings of Being John Malkovich.although completely resultof that process. Just as poor Craig is assimilated by Emily. and his own original one.and a process writing what people seem to misunderstand I meant. The film begs to be read in light of a Nietzschean. Lester's will commands the body like the pilot of a ship. she gets pregnant from an early morning liaison with Malkovich/Lotte. too. they opened the way to intriguing new possibilities. ones that seem to be fascinating Hollywood more and more recently. If nobody succeeded in truly being John Malkovich. By this I mean that. Having no preconceived notion of representing some one theory or other as the answer that their work was intended to illustrate. Thoughhe contains numerous other consciousnesses (all of Lester's friends. of understanding the problem of personal identity was deepened and enhanced because the filmmakersmapped out existentialist pathways of thought. Before she switches her allegiance to Craig (when he proves himself capable of manipulating Malkovich's body). in turn. Admittedly. offer us much help in accounting for which drive or which personalitybecomes dominantin the struggleto act. my Kaufman' screenplaysuggests an interesting s bridge between body and consciousness in its treatment of the relationship between Maxine and Lotte. neither Nietzsche. all presumablywith goggled views of the proceedings).Shaw On Being Philosophical and Being John Malkovich 117 himself to be manipulated Maxineinto having by dinner with a total stranger. Maxine passionately suggests that the baby she carries is Lotte's. by the end of the film. They were raising new questions about and exploringvarioustheoriesof personal identity.In declaringher love. the daughterwho results from their amalgamated union looks rather like a cross between the two women. the Malkovich vessel is now firmly controlled by Lester (who was. Yet both the philosopher and the filmmakers lead us along some novel paths in thinking about the enigma of personal identity.19 . Maxine pursuesMalkovich and finds that she is most excited by having sex with his body when it is occupied by Lotte's consciousness.I've discussedmy beforeas working without map. and that is why she decided to keep it! Indeed. I haveto figure things out whatto do withthem. as well as underminingaccepted philosophical definitions of personalidentity.then. best answers the pivotal question of who John Malkovich is at the end of the film seven years afterLesterhas moved in. What I have been arguing. and John Malkovich ends up being more like Lester than anyone else.

see Andris Bilint Kovics. 3. 1998)."reprintedin Special InterestEdition on Science Fiction and Philosophy.beingcharliekaufman. and is hence more philosophic than Husbands and Wives. 8. "Cinema and the Aesthetics of the Dynamical Sublime. 1984). Beyond Good and Evil. "Ways of Thinking." Film and Philosophy 1 (1994): 87. 2002). p. by (paraphrasingHeidegger) "opening new paths for thought" and (quoting Cavell) suggesting "directions to answers. for example." in Themes Out of School (San Francisco:North Point Press. Nietzsche." Film and Philosophy 8 (2004): 75-76. Stephen Mulhall. And unlike Nausea. INTERNET: dshaw@lhup. 7. pp. 5. 4. "Picturing the Human (Body and Soul): A Reading of Blade Runner." Mulhall. J. 2. Closer (Mike 1. 111-119. Raskolnikov could not avoid being paralyzed with guilt. R. Abrams. 17. the Philosophy of Nothingness. 12. 1958). Thomas Wartenberg. Interpreting the Moving Image (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.FriedrichNietzsche and the Politics of Transformation (University of California Press. "Cinematic Philosophy in Le Feu Follet: The Search for the Meaningful Life. pp. trans. 9. reprinted1984). 20. pp." Film and Philosophy 8 (2004): 140. The lattercharacterization excerptedfrom Cavell's essay. 234. 1975)." Film and Philosophy 7 (2003): 70. See. Mulhall. Mary Litch. where Sartre often seems to be exploring new philosophical avenues. 28. p. Philosophy ThroughFilm (New York/ London:Routledge. pp. 10. 9. "Picturing the Human (Body and Soul). The Concept of Mind (University of Chicago 2004). Beyond Good and Evil. 16. Jerold J. 2004)." pp. 13. Collingwood. 11-24. and more intriguing.118 DANIEL SHAW Department of Communications and Philosophy Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania Lock Haven. Thomas Nagel. Mulhall invokes both MartinHeidegger and Stanley Cavell in orderto clarify the sense in which he thinks films can philosophize. Dostoevsky intended Crime and Punishment as a tale of spiritualredemption. which were only to be mapped out explicitly in subsequent theoretical treatises such as Being and Nothingness. ? 188. 14. R. The Principles of Art (Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress. G. 6. 18. Stephen Mulhall. 19. On Film (New York/London: Routledge. StephenMulhall. available at <http:// www. I V Huckabees (David O.Allen's intentions are less clear. Herbert Granger." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (2006): 135-145. 1949. "The Thought of Movies. ? 21. 153-165. Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen. In that regard. FriedrichNietzsche. for which Kaufman was recently honored with the Academy Award for Best OriginalScreenplay.htm?movies/ malkovich. Noel Carroll. 15. 40-51. 2004). "Waysof Thinking:A Response to AndersenandBaggini. originally posted in 2000. Gilbert Ryle. "Looking Backward: Philosophy and Film Reconsidered. Film and Philosophy 9 (2005): 24-29. 1989) goes beyond its source in Dostoevsky.htm&2>. 67-86. Interview for the Being Charlie Kaufinanwebsite." is p. Russell. Judah in Crimes seems capable of going on with his life . Tracy Strong. Hollingdale(London:PenguinBooks. 1973). For another discussion of Sartre's ideas in relation to film. "Sartre. Pennsylvania 17745 USA ThinkingThroughCinema:Film as Philosophy without confessing his crime to the powers that be. especially the introduction. "Whatis it Like to Be a Bat?"Philosophical Review 84 (1974): 435-450. and the Modern Melodrama. 11. 2004). and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry.