Lyotard prophesized the end of the grand narrative: Looking through the Cartesian perspective and believing in overarching theories and philosophies no longer upheld. Certainties about finding the answers through science or religion could no longer exist. Postmodernism made us alert to difference and diversity, to the incompatibility of our aspirations and beliefs. It hailed the end of the humanist tradition and man's control over being.
Thus reading films as texts gave us the opportunity to see the abundance of narratives within. Every image, every word, every colour, has a reference to another. There is a never-ending potential of narratives as these images and signs themselves generate new processes and meanings.
Is there any meaning to our existence? The notion of the Absurd counters this most basic philosophical question.
The Absurd stems from the conflict which arises when we search for inherent value and significance to our lives but have an inability to find it in a world which is meaningless and full of uncertainty. Kierkegaad and Camus suggests we have threes choices; suicide to end the conflict, turning to God for purpose to our lives or accepting the Absurd and create our own meaning to life.
Beckett played with the Absurd idea that there is no meaning to be found in the world beyond the meaning that we give to it.
Ban An Farraige gives a glimpse into the Absurd world of a woman. She moves in the uncertain terrain between religion, repetition, inevitability and hope. She accepts the Absurd life she leads. She has chosen a life where meaning comes from herself. Her body can be seen as words made flesh by that I mean she can be read as both a symbol of absurdity and a subject of absurdity. The film focuses on this shifting terrain.
There is no way to verify whether her understanding of her world has any inherent meaning at all. The only relevance it has is that which she gives to it.
Technically the shots are manipulated. Nothing is real. There is no coherent vision of truth, there is no accepted reflection of society and no expressions of cultural values, and it does not communicate any general views of human life. It is not concerned with conveying information or presenting the problems or destinies relating to a particular character. The film instead reveals the personal workings of her mind and by doing so show that she has created her own reality.
As she repeats movements, talks to herself and sucks the stones she becomes recognizable to us through the picture of the world that she places before us. The seaside scene is an expression of her own psychological reality. The fleeting images and sounds are the outward projection of the thoughts in her head. By opening up the world of the Absurd we can view the workings of her mind. “It presents a truer picture of reality itself, reality as apprehended by an individual”.41 Ladislav Major, Mysleni o divadle, vol. 1 (Praha [Prague]: Herrmann, 1993) 161.
By showing that her existence is not determined by anything external lying outside of herself, science, history, or God's order, but instead lies within and is the result of her own decisions and behavior, the film thus engages with the enduring exploration of the intimate vision of the human situation, the meaning of existence itself.
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?