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Out of TimeDesire in Atemporal Cinema$
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Todd McGowan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816669950

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816669950.001.0001

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Not the Worst of All Possible Worlds

Not the Worst of All Possible Worlds

Sacrificing the Object in Butterfly Effect

(p.59) Chapter 2 Not the Worst of All Possible Worlds
Out of Time

Todd McGowan

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines how Eric Bress’ and J. Mackye Gruber’s film Butterfly Effect (2004) used the theory of possible worlds to present the repetition of trauma. The theory of possible worlds was used in the film when lead character Evan Treborn attempted to find a perfect world. In turn, his attempts became a vicious cycle of failure. Through Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic project, this cycle of failure became the same source of desire. The failure cycle is the source from which the desire to get that object comes from; for instance in this film, the perfect world, the object, craved by Treborn. There will be greater traumatic failure in an attempt to escape this vicious cycle of failure. This chapter concludes that a world without the privileged object is not the best of all possible worlds and that time is unable to prevent the repetition of traumatic failures.

Keywords:   Butterfly Effect, trauma, traumatic failure, possible worlds, time, perfect world, Evan Treborn

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