Jason M. Wirth

A Mud Doctor Checking Out the Earth Underneath: Ruminations on Malick’s Days of Heaven and Loht’s Phenomenology of Film

  • Philosophy
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Communication

This is a philosophical rumination on Shawn Loht’s important extension of “film as philosophy” into a Heideggerian phenomenological account of the philosophical response that cinema can engender. After considering the importance of these kinds of approaches, I turn to Loht’s phenomenological engagement with Terrence Malick’s early masterpiece, Days of Heaven (1978). After sympathetically reviewing his “interpretation”, I expand upon its delineation of “earth and world” to include the “fallenness” of the world as well as the possibility of a metanōetic awakening to the vocation of “mud doctor”, that is, to heal the rift between earth and world, a rift made more exigent by world war, economic exploitation, and the ecological catastrophe of the Anthropocene.

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