Cinema’s Historical Incarnations: Traveling the Möbius Strip of Biotime in Cloud Atlas

  • Daniel White


This chapter explores the sense of historicity emergent in the Anthropocene as it is articulated in David Mitchell’s novel and the Wachowskis’ and Tykwer’s film Cloud Atlas. The syntax of historical thinking is examined cross-culturally, and a hybrid idea of temporality is postulated based on the metaphor, presented regarding Memento in Chap.  2, of the Möbius strip. In the multicultural consciousness of the new era, as evoked by novel and film, time is both linear and circular. Christian Europe meets Buddhist East Asia in a new sensibility. The dawning historical consciousness evident in these works combines the linear narrative of modernity and its alternatives of “utopia or oblivion,” in Buckminster Fuller’s terms, together with the cyclical “eternal return,” in Mircea Eliade’s (2005) terms, to shape a paradoxical narrative shifting dialectically and cybernetically between the two. All becomes encapsulated from the self-referential and recursive perspective of Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History who, like Janus, looks both ways.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel White
    • 1
  1. 1.Honors CollegeFlorida Atlantic UniversityJupiterUSA

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