In film and literature, how does one deal with the smorgasbord of themes and lack of a single, unifying meaning?
OK, this is a little abstract, so bear with me. For the longest time, I've had trouble interpreting movies and books. When I listen to music or look at art, I usually "get it" right away, because works in these mediums tend to have very clear meanings. But when I watch a movie or read a novel, I'm often left confused by the end despite enjoying the plot.
For example, earlier today, I watched Blade Runner for the first time. It's clear that Ridley Scott and the other folks in the creative pipeline put a lot of thematic complexity into the work, but I just can't intuitively comprehend how it all fits together. Nothing in the film points me towards any given theme, and instead sort of exists in this stew of different ideas. For example, the burgeoning humanity of the replicants is a major theme in the film. So what's with all the other underlined ideas, such as the replicants' treatment of "god", the decrepit, multi-cultural stylings of the future, the references to mythology and religion, the main replicant's wild behavior towards the end, etc.? I can't help but see the film as a massive jumble of tangled thematic threads, none of which end up in the same place. I just don't get a sense of thematic closure. Am I supposed
to feel this way? Doesn't it make the film seem incomplete?
1. When you watch a movie or read a book, how do you come to grips with the themes? Do they generally make sense to you right away, or do you have to sit and think about them after the fact? In your favorite films and novels, do you find that they jumble together or stem from a single source?
2. How do creators conceive of these works? I'm sure that Ridley Scott didn't just want to make an action flick about a detective hunting robots, but at the same time I'm confident that he didn't consciously sit down one day and pen all the themes listed on the Wikipedia page
. So how did this complicated work emerge, if not through a methodical process?
I know this is a fairly basic question, but I feel like the part of my brain that's supposed to just "get it" is missing. So please explain it to me like I'm 12!