What is the criticism of absurdism

Lexicon of film terms


The term is used as a literary scientific term absurd to the philosophy of existentialism in France in the 1950s (Sartre, Camus et al.) and refers to the texts of the "theater of the absurd" (theater de l'absurde), at the center of which is the senselessness of human existence per se. Absurd films take a similar stance, are also incompatible with the requirements of logic (e.g. consistency) and / or they describe facts that cannot be understood with the means of reason. At the level of narration, conventions of causality and chronology as well as other principles of order are overridden with the aim of characterizing the irrational state of the world. Examples are films as diverse as The new desk (Karl Valentin, 1914), Horse Feathers (Norman Z. Leonard, 1932), J‘irai comme un Cheval fou (Fernando Arrabal, 1978) or Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1984).
Contrary to the texts of absurdism, the grotesque tends to have a political and less philosophical claim and, moreover, does not question the meaningfulness of human existence. The anarcho-comedy is also different, the plot of which shows the anarchic, but which as a structure always remains in the realm of the logical and coherent. Ultimately, the slapstick, the sheer foolishness, completely dispenses with philosophical tendencies.

Literature: Esslin, Martin: The theater of the absurd: from Beckett to Pinter. Reinbek: Rowohlt 1991 (Rowohlt's Encyclopedia. 414.). First in 1965; numerous other edition - Haug, Wolfgang Fritz: Criticism of absurdism. 2., revised. Cologne edition: Pahl-Rugenstein 1976. - Kofler, Leo: Abstract art and absurd literature. Aesthetic marginalia. Vienna [...]: Europa-Vlg. 1970.

Article last changed on 07/15/2011

Author: PB