27 Movies from the Dark Side (Ebert's Essentials) by Roger Ebert

By Roger Ebert

Occasionally there's simply not anything extra soaking up than staring at a film that really seems to be at existence at the darkish part, revealing these darkish components of human nature that we discover so facinating. In Roger Ebert's choices of 27 video clips from the darkish Side, he bargains a assorted choice from a glance on the seamy part of existence in L.A. in Chinatown to a backwoods homicide long gone unsuitable in Blood Simple. Throw in classics from Alfred Hitchcock, Notorious and Strangers on a Train, and French excursions de strength, Bob le Flambeur and Touchez Pas au Grisbi and you've received the primer on movie noir.

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A mere capacity to respond to transitory impulses and desires will not do the trick: for an act to count as expressing personal agency, those responses need to be sensitive to reasons supplied by past experience and anticipations of the future: in short, they need to express intentions informed by the requisite cognitive continuities. As Gerrans and Kennett comment: Planning requires a capacity to imaginatively project oneself into the future; this in turn requires both a sense of oneself as the very same individual who will inhabit that future .

In so committing ourselves . . we provide reasons for ourselves in the future, reasons which will be ours, but which we would otherwise not have had. In this way we construct ourselves as particular, temporally extended, agents. Our diachronic reasons, made salient to us via our capacity for mental time travel, are thus in a position to compete with synchronically occurring wants. (Gerrans and Kennett 2010: 601–2) Lynch’s Rita is not a person who organizes, arranges, plans, or commits. Thus, as Gerrans and Kennett’s comment implies, she in one sense is not a person at all; she is so incapable of normal patterns of reflection and deliberation that she fails to act on reasons – she fails to qualify as a properly rational being.

Mulholland Drive is not the only of Lynch’s works presenting this dynamic. In Twin Peaks, Leland may be possessed by Bob when he kills Laura and Maddy, but he invited Bob in as a child – so his own agency is connected to these foreign acts. In Blue Velvet (1986), Jeffrey Beaumont is pulled into a world of corruption, drugs, and violence, but his own curiosity and sexual desire for Dorothy Vallens led him there. In the context of agential nullification, Lynch shows us that we are all players in a tragedy.

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