The meaning of the film “Cloud Atlas”, the content and explanation of the plot

Reincarnation, Immortality and Freedom in Cloud Atlas Puzzle Movie

Country: USA, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore

Genre: fantasy, drama

Year of production: 2012

Directed by: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, Tom Tykwer

Actors: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent

Cloud Atlas is a puzzle film underrated by critics and audiences alike.

The meaning of the film “Cloud Atlas” (Cloud Atlas) is that at all times the movement of mankind forward is due to the thirst for freedom and knowledge. This is a film about the fact that life is endless, and love and freedom are the most important human values ​​at all times.

What is the movie about

Brief summary of the picture. Cloud Atlas is based on the book of the same name by David Mitchell. The work includes six stories.

Tom HanksTom Hanks as Henry Goose, the receptionist, Isaac Sachs, Dermot Hoggins, the actor and Zachry Bailey. Frame from the film.

In the book, each story is divided in half, and the storylines of the Cloud Atlas characters converge at the end.

The author consistently tells the beginning of the first five stories. The sixth story is told in its entirety. Then, in reverse order, the remaining parts of the first five short stories are told.

The idea of ​​David Mitchell was that each hero is the same soul, which has new incarnations every era. One of the central themes of his novel is the theme of the transmigration of souls. The film Cloud Atlas is built differently. All stories are told to us in parallel. At the same time, an attentive viewer can see direct echoes of themes and plots. Unfortunately, because of this, the idea of ​​the reincarnation of one particular soul is lost.

There are several such souls in the picture. The creators of the film quite inventively approached how to show their rebirth: the same actors play several characters at once. There is something that unites them: this is a birthmark in the form of a comet. All heroes are rebels who go against the system.

Individually, each of the six stories looks pretty banal. We are shown: a classic dystopia, a parody of a Victorian novel, a post-apocalypse, a political thriller and a comedy of the absurd. In each of the short stories – a predictable set of clichés and clichés. But do not consider them separately, the point is to create an overall picture.

Character stories

The first story tells how a young man named Adam Ewing, a typical 19th century citizen, set out on a journey. On the trip, a tragedy nearly occurred: they tried to poison him. The young man was saved by a runaway slave, to whom he also rendered an important service.

Adam EwingAdam Ewing with his wife, Tilda Ewing. The roles were played by Jim Sturgess and Bae Doon Na. Frame from the film.

The protagonist of the second novel is Robert Frobisher, a young composer living and working in the 20th century. He is working on a symphony called “Cloud Atlas” and eventually takes his own life.

The third story tells about a dangerous journalistic investigation, during which the main character, who got too close to the truth, is hunted by a hired killer.

The fourth novel tells about Timothy Cavendish, sent by his own brother to a terrible nursing home. The hero found like-minded people and successfully escaped.

The fifth story tells about a girl who, by the will of fate, became a symbol of the resistance of people who are tired of totalitarianism.

The sixth short story describes the life of the shepherd Zahri Bailey. One day, Zahri meets a foreigner and helps her against all odds.

At the end of the picture, one of the characters tells his grandchildren the story of his life. The explanation for the ending is as follows: life is endless, there is no death, and love and freedom are the most important human values ​​at all times.

Plot transcript

There are several interpretations of the film “Cloud Atlas”. According to many, the main idea of ​​the film is the idea of ​​the transmigration of souls.

All stories are about love, sacrifice, freedom, and the limits and consequences of that freedom. They also talk about the revolution of the spirit – and that it is impossible without self-sacrifice.

And in each novel, the issue of time is considered. In fact, time is a river that flows in all directions at once. This is an element, and it is impossible to curb (especially defeat) it. Time rolls in waves, destroys and preserves, destroys and restores again. And there is no future, just like there is no past – but there is only “here and now”.

Cloud Atlas also has the idea of ​​choice as the fundamental basis of all things. Each character in the picture makes this choice more than once. And this choice determines the further development of our life (and those who believe in reincarnation – lives). Thus, a conscious attitude to choice is the key to everything. By our choice we create reality.

The first novel tells about the freedom of choice and the sacrifice of former beliefs. The second story is about freedom in art and about choosing how to use your gift.

The investigative novella talks about how important (and how scary) it is sometimes to choose the truth. The story of the cannibals talks about how important it is to make a choice between your demons and something important and valuable.

The idea of ​​reincarnation

Many analyzes and reviews say that the meaning of the content of the film “Cloud Atlas” is that reincarnation exists.

The immortal souls of the characters in the picture are embodied in different eras. In addition to heroes with a birthmark, we see other characters who are antagonists in each era. Obviously, they are the embodiment of the same soul.

reincarnationReincarnation of heroes performed by Bae Doon-na and Jim Sturgess. Frame from the film.

The problem of the reincarnation of the soul was considered by the philosophers of ancient Greece. For example, Pythagoras talked about his previous incarnations. Plato formed a whole doctrine. According to Plato, the soul is immortal, and it is located in a special space of the world of ideas, from where it is embodied in specific bodies. The soul has the fullness of knowledge, but before incarnation it drinks from the river of oblivion. Incarnated in a new body, she does not remember anything.

The immortality of the soul was also recognized by Kant. However, he denied the human mind the opportunity to prove it. After Kant, Goethe and Schopenhauer turned to this topic.

What does the music say

The film “Cloud Atlas” very clearly reflects the idea of ​​the role of music as a carrier of information or as a certain code. That is why the idea of ​​building a book and a film around a piece of music that passes through the fate of people and time is embodied.

The author of the book, David Mitchell, was inspired by the real musical creation of the same name “Cloud Atlas” by the Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi (Yoko Ono’s first husband). But the sixtet for the film was composed by Tom Tykwer.

The idea of ​​immortality

The film Cloud Atlas is also about creative immortality. The main example, of course, is the Cloud Atlas symphony.

composerBen Whishaw as Robert Frobisher, an aspiring composer. Frame from the film.

Music composed by Robert Frobisher is featured in every novella. Creativity is not only this, but also letters, and records, and even the oral story of the old Zakhri. The point is that the human creator is a priori immortal.

idea of ​​freedom

One of the key phrases of the film is the creepy proverb “In one sitting, the strong will eat the weak.” This refrain runs through all stories.

Each novel embodies the idea of ​​the struggle between the weak and the strong. These are the old people who rebelled against the evil nurse (isn’t this novel a kind of parody of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?), and the inhabitants of the valley who opposed the cannibals.

The point is that in every story, the weak win. For example, Adam, rescued by a runaway slave, joins the abolitionists. Brave journalist Louise defeats a hired killer. Cavendish escapes from a nursing home that looks more like a prison. Sunmi-451 (the heroine of the fifth story) dies in the finale, but at the same time becomes the founder of a new, much more humane idea.

All antagonists claim that the basis of all things is order. This order is opposed by the desire for freedom.

Order (or law) is a norm adopted in a particular society. It does not involve any resistance. The explanation for this can be found in the philosophy of Gnosticism. This is a special kind of late antique thought, balancing between ancient teaching and Christianity. At the forefront is the concept of “gnosis”, or knowledge. According to the Gnostics, knowledge is the only way to save the soul. The Gnostic is sure that the world is one big prison, and the key to get out is knowledge.

Hugh Grant in the last part of the filmHugh Grant as Chief of the Konov Tribe. Frame from the film.

In fact, all the characters in the film commit “gnosiological infamy”. Each of them feels as if in a prison, and its laws are alien to him. The truth that the heroes discover is that every person has the opportunity to know the truth of the world. Realizing his depravity, he can change him.

The hidden meaning of the picture and its clue, which the viewer gets closer to the finale, is that each person has exclusive power over the world, and he can influence the events of world history. And the main idea of ​​the film “Cloud Atlas” is the liberating power of knowledge.

Another look

The essence of the film “Cloud Atlas” is that at all times there are and will be people similar to the heroes of the picture. Having experienced fear and injustice, they will always strive to change the world for the better.

The theory of reincarnation in this film raises many questions. The directors could not give a clear answer about the connection between the fates of the characters in their different incarnations. There is no answer to how the past life influenced the present, and how the present life will affect the future.

Apparently, the answer to whether there is a goal for the transmigration of souls in this picture, and what it is, the viewer will also have to look for on their own.

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