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May 16, 2003

Times 6?

"Reloaded" was awesome, but I'm going to see it again tonight before I say too much more. Don't believe the reviews that say it's all flash and no dash. Think poststructualism (and here), Baudrillard (and also specifically his chapter in Simulacra and Simulation on "The Remainder" and his more recent book, Impossible Exchange ), Nietzsche (particularly his ideas of the superman (and here) and nihilism (and here)), and Foucault who said:

My role - and that is too emphatic a word - is to show people that they are much freer than they feel, that people accept as truth, as evidence, some themes which have been built up at a certain movement during history, and that this so-called evidence can be criticized and destroyed. To change something in the minds of people - that’s the role of an intellectual. (Martin et al. 1988:10)

Foucault permeates both matrix films. Without giving away too much, I think it's safe to say that "Reloaded" shows us that there is no "outside" to the matrix; yet, it also suggests that resistance to the matrix is not futile—a better world is possible. In some ways, the series is becoming a pop-culture, video textbook of poststructural theory—with kung-fu! How can that not rock?

Ed note: Many of the connections mentioned above come directly from L., the brilliant woman in my life who knows poststructuralism and marxism like most people know their own names. She specifically mentioned Baudrillard's chapter on the "remainder" and his book, Impossible Exchange. She also made the connection between Neo's "superman thing" and Nietzsche's superman. Finally, the Foucauldian analysis of the inside/outside of the matrix (and what the film is saying about that) is all her. I've tried in vain since I met her to get her to write things like this down and try to get them published—or at least start a weblog for it (she almost never sees a movie w/out walking away w/a brilliant critique)—but to no avail. I'll keep trying....

Posted May 16, 2003 09:32 AM | ai movies

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