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Cartesian Subjects Lost in the Alps: Reflections on Ruben Östlund's Force Majeure
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
2018 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Aesthetics, ISSN 2000-1452, E-ISSN 2000-9607, Vol. 27, no 55-56, p. 134-148Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article analyses the constitution of subjectivity in Ruben Östlund’s film Force Majeure (2014). At the centre of attention stands the male protagonist who is uncapable of reconciling his inner nature with the external expectations. If the film may be un-derstood as a critique of existing middle-class conventions, it also reproduces a highly conventional ideal of the self-identical subject. The article argues that this confusion or irony is an expression of a Cartesian subject – still prevalent in the film – in crisis. A neglected aspect of Descartes’ theory is that the autonomy of the subjects presupposes the existence of God. The problem for Östlund’s char-acters is that there is no God. Still, they act as if he, or as if any au-thority might, legitimize their subjectivity. Thus, the whole existence becomes a series of performances. The idea of an inner nature cor-responds with the notion of an outer nature. The latter is certainly very present in Force Majeure, but at the same time this nature is constantly problematized. On an allegorical level, the film may thus be read as a comment on the Anthropocene, a state where we no longer know neither what “nature”, nor “culture” is.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 27, no 55-56, p. 134-148
Keywords [en]
Ruben Östlund, Subjective Impotence, Inner Nature, Cogito, Second Nature, Anthropocene, Theodor W. Adorno, Timothy Morton
National Category
Studies on Film
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34913OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-34913DiVA, id: diva2:1264274
Available from: 2018-11-19 Created: 2018-11-19 Last updated: 2018-11-21Bibliographically approved

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Johansson, Sven Anders

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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