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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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“Something Is Lost”

“Something Is Lost”

The Ethics of Absolute Negativity in 21 Grams

Chapter:
(p.135) Chapter 5 “Something Is Lost”
Source:
Out of Time
Author(s):

Todd McGowan

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816669950.003.0006

This chapter discusses how time distortion applied in Alejandro González Inárritu’s 21 Grams (2003) changed the traditional filmic reproductive ideology or possibility of birth. Traditional filmic reproductive ideology aims to project the futuristic goal of filmic romantic union—to bear a child in the end. 21 Grams, in spite of being aligned with the reproductive ideology, shatters the spectator’s expectancy of usual happy endings through atemporality. Most atemporal films such as 21 Grams depict traumatic loss as the product of success. For instance in the film 21 Grams, even though the character Cristina had numerous miscarriages, she was still given another chance to conceive a baby. These miscarriages implied a central “traumatic loss” that was not explicitly relayed in the film. This is how “absolute negativity” or absence works.

Keywords:   21 Grams, Lantana, absolute negativity, traumatic loss, reproductive ideology

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