Philosophical Films
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TitleYearDirectorWriterThemesReadingsWarnings
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Counterpart (TV series)
2017-2019
variousvariousidentity, counterpart theory, choice
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Shinsekai Yori (From the New World)
2012-2013
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Dekalog (Series)
1989-1990
Krzysztof KieślowskiKrzysztof Kieślowski,
Krzysztof Piesiewicz
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Midsommar2019Ari AsterAri Astermoral and cultural relativism
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Parasites2019Bong Joon HoClass division,
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Replicas 2019Jeffrey NachmanoffParfit, personal identity and survival
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Us2019Jordan Peelecolonialism,Fanon, Wretched of the Earth
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Annihilation2018Alex GarlandAlex GarlandPersonal identity, environmental philosophySome disturbing, violent images
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Black Panther2018Ryan CooglerRyan Coogler, Joe Robert ColeAfrofuturism, Science fiction, postcolonial studies
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Can You Ever Forgive Me? 2018Marielle HellerHeller and HolofcenerAuthenticity, fakes and forgeriesAlcoholism, violence
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First Reformed2018Paul SchraderPaul SchraderEnvironmentalism, anti-natalism, Christianity, forgivenessAn off-screen suicide
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Happy As Lazzaro2018Alice Rohrwacher Alice Rohrwacher Ethics, consequentialism, modern indentured servitude, culture, modern slavery
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I Am Not Your Negro2018Raoul Peck James BaldwinCivil RIghts, Natural LawPair w some Baldwin, King, X, Black Panthers, Rachels on Cultural Relativism, CritoPolice brutality and violence
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Leave No Trace2018Deborah GranikPeter RockPTSD, ethics,
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Minding the Gap2018Bing Liufamily, gender, race and class"Man Child"We hear recordings of intimate partner violence.
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Ready Player One2018SpielbergSimulated experienceMark Silcox, A Defense of Simulated Experience
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Roma2018Alfonso CuarónAlfonso Cuarón
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Sorry to Bother You2018Boots RileyBoots RileyAmong other things, the image of the cave
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The Rider2018Chloe ZhaoMasculinity, gender in the USA
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American Vandal (TV Series [Netflix], Season 1)2017Tony YacendaTony Yacenda & Dan Perraultimplicit bias, testimony, epistemic injustice (credibility excesses & deficits)Miranda Fricker, "Testimonial Injustice" (from Epistemic Injustice)crude humor
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Get Out2017Jordan PeeleJordan PeeleRace/racism, double consciousness, white privilegeFanon, Black Skin, White Masks; DuBois (The Souls of Black Folk, especially Ch. 1 on "double consciousness")
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Ghost in the Shell2017Rupert SandersShirow Masamune,
Jamie Moss
Descartes
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Okja2017Bong Joon HoBong Joon Ho, Jon ronsonAnimal rights, ecoterrorismMild violence and some animal abuse
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The Young Marx2017Raoul PeckPascal Bonitzer & Raoul PeckMarx bio-pic, marxism, class consciousness, social classCommunist Manifesto (many other possibilities, e.g., letters, etc.)Turn on subtitles: multi-lingual!
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13th2016Ava Duvernay Spencer Averick, Ava DuVernayRacism, Bias, US Prison System
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Arrival2016Denis VillenueveEric Heisserer,
Ted Chiang
Eternal return, amor fati, Translation, time travel, seeing the futureNietzsche. Quine and Davidson on Radical Translation.
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Manchester by the Sea2016Kenneth LonerganKenneth Lonergangrief, moral luck, forgiveness
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San Junipero (Black Mirror S3:E4)2016Owen HarrisCharlie Brookerimmortality, mind-body, personal identity, virtual reality
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Advantageous2015Jennifer Phang Jacqueline Kim and Jennifer PhangPhil Mind, Personal Identity, Ecomonic Oppression and Choice, Sexism, Racism
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Eye in the Sky2015Gavin HoodGuy HibbertTrolly problem
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Inside Out2015
Pete Docter,
Ronnie Del Carmen
Pete Docter,
Ronnie Del Carmen
cognitive architecture, emotions, memory
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Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt2015Ada UshpizAda UshpizHannah Arendt's ideas, esp. on status of immigrantsmany choices from Hannah Arendt; poss. R Bernstein, Why Read Hannah Arendt Now? (short book)
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A Girl Walks Home at Night2014Ana Lily AmirpourAna Lily AmirpourEthics, implicit bias (perhaps?)
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Art and Craft2014
Sam Cullman,
Jennifer Grausman
Art, forgery, duplication, authenticity, creativityLessing “What’s Wrong With a Forgery?”
Stalnaker, “Fakes and Forgeries”
Borges, “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote”
Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
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Captain America: The Winter Soldier2014Anthony and Joe RussoChristopher Markus,
Stephen McFeely
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Copenhagen2014Mark RasoMark Rasoredemption through love, sexual encounters with underaged partners
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Ex Machina2014Alex GarlandAlex Garlandartificial intelligence, misogynyBeauvoir, the Second Sex, literally any feminism
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Force Majeure2014Ruben ÖstlundRuben ÖstlundVirtue as Dispostion to ActNicomachean Ethics
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The Lego Movie2014
Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
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Her2013Spike JonzeSpike Jonzeartificial intelligence, love
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Le Week-End2013Roger MichellHanif Kureishi
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Night Moves2013Kelly ReichardtEthics of ecoterrorism
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Oblivion2013Joseph KosinskiKarl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt, Joseph KosinksiPersonal identity (https://tl.net/blogs/451221-some-metaphysical-questions-in-the-film-oblivion)
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Snowpiercer2013Joon-ho BongJoon-ho BongClass warfare. Climate change.Marx. Veblen. Bourdieau.
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The Philosophers // After the Dark2013John HuddlesJohn HuddlesThought Experiments
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It’s Such a Beautiful Day2012Don HertzfeldtMeaningfulness of life, mental health, end of lifeCamus, Myth of Sisyphus
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Kumare2012Vikram Gandhi Documentary/No writer creditPhilosophy of Religion, Wiil to Believe,
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Life of Pi2012Ang LeeDavid MageePragmatic arguments for belief in godModerate violence between animals
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The Act of Killing2012Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn et.alGenocide, guilt, self-rationalizationStanley, On propoganda.
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The Last Supper (Wang de Shengyan)2012Chuan LuSeth Le, Chuan LuLesser of two evils
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The Lorax2012
Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Cinco Paul, Dr SeussBusiness and environmental ethics, value of nature
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Zero Dark Thirty2012Kathryn BigelowEthics of torture. NB, I think the film is much more nuanced and critical on the topic than the hot takes at the time acknowledged. It emphasizes the epistemic haze of torture. Henry Shue, "Torture."
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Another Earth2011Mike CahillBrit Marlingcounterpart theory, identity, fate
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Holy Motors2011Leos CaraxLeos CaraxPerformance, reproduction, repetition,
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How to Die in Oregon2011Peter RichardsonDocumentaryright to die, aid in dying
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Jiro Dreams of Sushi2011David Gelbn/awork ethic, eudaimonia,
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Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times)2011
Michelangelo Frammartino
Ontology, transfiguration, the sublime, the sacred,
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Margaret2011Kenneth LonerganKenneth Lonergan
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Melancholia2011Lars von TrierLars von TrierEnd of the world, human extinction, loss of value, death, Freud
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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia2011Nuri Bilge CeylanErcan Kesal, Ebru Ceylan
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The Sunset Limited2011Tommy Lee JOnesCormac McCarthy
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This is Not a Film2011
Jafar Panahi,
Mojtaba Mirtahmasb,
Jafar Panahi
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Tree of Life2011Terrence MalickTerrence MalickProblem of EvilMackie “Evil and Omnipotence”
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Upstream Color2011Shane CarrouthShane CarrouthPersonal Identity, Interconnection, Free Will, Determinism
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We Need to Talk About Kevin2011Lynne RamsayLionel ShriverSchool shooter, anti-natalismIt’s about a school shooter so it’s brutal
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Adventure Time - “City of Thieves” episode2010Larry LeichliterState of nature, Social contractFirst 5 minutes of episode are perfect to illustrate state of nature for teaching Social contract, Rousseau
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Certified Copy2010Abbas KiarostamiAbbas Kiarostami, Caroline EliacheffMemory, authenticity, reproduction, love, ontology
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Exit Through the Gift Shop2010BanksyArt, street art, creativity, authorshipNick Riggle, "Street Art: The Transfiguration of the Commonplaces"
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Inception2010Christopher NolanChristopher Nolantime, psychoanalysis
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Unthinkable2010Gregor JordanPeter WoodwardEthics of tortureGraphic violence
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A Serious Man2009Joel and Ethan CoenJoel and Ethan Coenreligion, absurdity
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Agora2009Alejandro AmenábarAlejandro Amenábar & Mateo GillHypatia bio, religious fanaticism, gender roles, reason, violenceEdward Watts, "The Murder of Hypatia: Acceptable or Unacceptable Violence"brief nudity in violent context, depicts mob violence
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District 92009Neill BlomkampNeill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
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Dogtooth2009Yorgos LanthimosEfthymis Filippou,
Yorgos Lanthimos
Importance of community to self-identity; language acquisition Violence, incest
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Moon2009Duncan JonesDuncan Jonespersonal identity, clones
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The Invention of Lying2009
Ricky Gervais / Matthew Robinson
Ricky Gervais / Matthew RobinsonLying, Kant, God
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White Material2009Claire DenisClaire DenisDecolonization and violence, Fanon
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Doubt2008John Patrick ShanleyJohn Patrick Shanleyreligion, uncertainty, ambiguity, perspectivalism
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Examined Life2008Astra TaylorAstra TaylorPhilosophers on philosophy, value of philosophyRussell “The Value of Philosophy”
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God on Trial2008Andy de Emmony Problem of evil
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Hunger2008Steve McQueenEnda Walsh, Steve McQueenPrison, Politcal Unrest, Direct Action, Politcal ImprisonmentKing, "Letter From a Birmingham Jail; Plato, CritoPolice brutality, torture
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In Bruges2008Martin McDonaghMartin McDonaghPurgatory, Competing Moral Codes
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Step Brothers2008Adam McKayWill Ferrell, Adam McKay
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Synechoche, NY2008Charlie KaufmanCharlie Kaufman
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The Beaches of Agnes2008Agnès VardaAgnès Varda, Didier Rouget
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The Dark Knight2008Christopher NolanChristopher and Jonathan Nolan
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The Hurt Locker2008Kathryn BigelowMark Boal
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Waltz with Bashir2008Ari FolmanAri Folman
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My Winnipeg2007Guy MaddinGuy MaddinMemory, reproduction, personal identity, historiography,
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No Country for Old Men2007Joel and Ethan CoenJoel and Ethan CoenMoral nihilism, Amoralism
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Persepolis2007Marjane SatrapiSatrapiReligion, oppression,
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Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind2007John GianvitoMemory, memorialization, historiography, representing the other
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The Man from Earth2007Richard SchenkmanJerome Bixby
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There Will Be Blood2007Paul Thomas AndersonPaul Thomas AndersonEthics, Capitalism
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XXY2007Lucia PuenzoLucia PuenzoGender identity, Sexuality (the film centers around an intersex teenager)There is a difficult sexual assault scene about 2/3 of the way through the film
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Youth Without Youth2007Francis Ford Coppola Francis Ford Coppola time/time-travel, memory,
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After the Wedding2006Susanne BierEthics, consequentialism, integrity objections
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Children of Men2006Alfonso CuarónAlfonso CuarónScheffler, “Death and the Afterlife” and NYT post
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