Abiding the Postmodern World: An Ethical, Existential, and Cinematographic Examination of the Big Lebowski

Gary Vaspol, Salve Regina University

Abstract

The Big Lebowski (1998) is arguably the most significant cult film in history, and as such, it has garnered a healthy amount of scholarship. Most scholars have addressed the film’s playful use of genre, idiosyncratic dialogue, and farcical nature in an effort to illuminate the particular auteur style of the Coens. Through Jameson’s use of parody, pastiche and nostalgia, Lyotard’s use of metanarratives, and by Baudrillard’s use of hyperreality, this dissertation examines how The Big Lewbowski is postmodern in form, but functions as a cultural critique. Second, the film is examined through a philosophical lens. The Dude is described as an existential hero by using Heideggarian and Sartrean philosophy. Third, the film is examined through ethical lens where Aristotelian virtue ethics are applied to illustrate the absurd banality of life in the postmodern era. Finally, the film’s cinematography is examined in terms of composition and technique to show how the camera visually supports the film’s underlying cultural critique. ^

Subject Area

Ethics|Philosophy|Film studies

Recommended Citation

Vaspol, Gary, "Abiding the Postmodern World: An Ethical, Existential, and Cinematographic Examination of the Big Lebowski" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI10813051.
https://digitalcommons.salve.edu/dissertations/AAI10813051

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