Philosophical Films: Study Questions: Films:

"Last Year at Marienbad"

1. How is Cartesian Dualism expressed in the Baroque gardens?
2. How is the "prison" of the Baroque architecture related to Cartesian solipsism?
3. How is the life style and behaviour of the hotel guests related to the Baroque architecture?
4. What does the idea of adultery symbolize?
5. What does the narrator's foreign accent symbolize?

"Modern Times"

1. What does the opening shot showing sheep say about the human condition?
2. How does Chaplin characterize the relationship between men and machines?
3. How does the feeding machine emphasize that relation further?
4. What is the interest of those who controle the machines in the film?
5. In which way is the economy as a whole like the machines?
6. In which way are all four aspects of Alienation (as discussed by Marx) illustrated in "Modern Times"?
7. Is the protagonist's struggle with the system a socialist one? (Explain!)


1. How do the first and the last shots indicate the message of the whole movie?
2. How is that message related to Fichte's vision of humanity?
3. On what aspect of Alienation discussed in connection with "Modern Times" is "Koyaanisqatsi" a comment?
4. How is the length of the shots in the film related to the film's vision of technology?
5. How does the film characterize Individualism and Freedom as illusions?

"Educating Rita"

1. What are the 3 stages of development in the education of Susan/Rita?
2. What is deficient about the first stage?
3. What is deficient about the second stage?
4. How are these two deficiencies related to the "satisfied pig" theme in the reading?
5. How does Susan justify her desire for an education to her husband?
6. Why does her husband burn her books?
7. Why does her teacher hesitate to give her that education? What danger does he foresee?
8. What is the symbolic meaning of hairdressing in "Educating Rita"?
9. How are education and social class aligned in the film?

"She's Got to Have It"

1. What is common to the desire of the three lovers of the protagonist?
2. What does that say about the relation of love and freedom?
3. What do the protagonists of Lee's film and "Play It Again, Sam" both do in the end? (According to what basic principle do they decide to live after their learning experiences?)

"Nine 1/2 Weeks"

1. What progression in the relationship between Basinger and Rourke is shown in the film?
2. Does Rourke change his basic attitude toward Basinger in the course of the story?
3. What similarity exists between this film and "She's Got to Have It"?


1. Who is shown to have most of the power in modern mass societies?
2. Why are the masses not in control of things, even though they controle the ratings?

Study Questions: Texts

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