After reviewing the paper requirements and handing in our proposals, our class dove directly into discussion how anxiety was depicted in films from the 1990s. We began by watching the opening sequence of 12 Monkeys, and tried to see how many different anxieties we could identify, and watched for reoccurring tropes of anxiety that are present throughout cinema of the 1990s. Students identified anxieties about the idea of conformity and the fear of losing individuality, a mistrust of science and technology, an obsession with sterility and cleanliness, and a fear of insanity. We also discussed the idea mentioned in lecture that there became an inability to distinguish between imaginary realms and reality.
Following this initial discussion, a student kept the ball rolling with his presentation of the reading “Brutalized Bodies,” which sparked a discussion on the idea of masculinity in crisi. We discussed how films, such as Fight Club and American Psycho raised the idea that the obsession with consumerism was feminizing males, and that in an attempt to reassert their masculinity, there grew a battle in the male psyche between consumerism and violence. Films of the late nineties featured a glorified use of violence to revive male primal instincts. This led us to question whether or not Fight Club and American Psycho were hard body films. To wrap up the class session, Jaap screened the opening sequence to American Beauty for us to reflect on our discussion in relation to one final film.