Thomas Hibbs
Thomas Hibbs
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

review of Son of Saul

April 23, 2016  •  National Review Online

Son of Saul, the first film (to be released next week on DVD) of László Nemes — he both directed and co-wrote it, and it won both the grand prize at Cannes and the Oscar for Best Foreign Film — is the latest in a seemingly endless string of Holocaust films. However, both in its peculiar plot — which focuses exclusively on the story of one man, Saul, brilliantly performed by Géza Röhrig — and in its cinematography — a hand-held, mobile camera that remains persistently and tightly focused on Saul — it marks out its own territory. The film is simultaneously an immersive, physically taxing experience of life in a camp and a self-conscious reflection on the conditions of, and motives for, Holocaust movies.

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Pope Francis's 'Integral Ecology'

September 17, 2015  •  National Review Online

We live in a deranged age — more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.

— Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos

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The End of the Tour, Irrational Man, and the Question of Nihilism

August 20, 2015  •  National Review Online

A scene in James Ponsoldt's new film The End of the Tour shows the novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) teaching a college writing class. When a student says, "I just want my narrator to be smart and witty," Wallace responds dryly but gently, "Try having him say some smart and witty things," and proceeds to warn the class to avoid the clichéd plot of a campus romance. Wallace's unpretentious, self-effacing rapport with the students stands in stark contrast to the model of the teacher in Woody Allen's annual foray into filmmaking with Irrational Man, which uses the cliché of campus romance, in this case between celebrated and jaded philosophy professor Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) and his adoring student-protégée Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), as a vehicle for exploring the liberating power of nihilism.

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review of Gemma Bovery

June 25, 2015  •  National Review Online

A film offers a new take on the classic novel

Gemma Bovery, the new French film directed by Anne Fontaine (Coco before Chanel) and based on the witty graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, is something of a satiric take on Flaubert's famous novel Madame Bovary. The story begins with Gemma Bovery (Gemma Arterton) and her husband, Charles (Jason Flemyng), moving from England to a village in Normandy — the same village, as it happens, where Flaubert wrote his famous novel. A local baker, Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini), a former Parisian and a Flaubert devotee, becomes obsessed with Gemma — not only with her beauty but also with the similarities between her name, what he perceives to be her fate, and the story of Emma Bovary. It's a clever idea, a fictional story about a character whose life may or may not imitate that of a character in a classic novel. And it works for a short film that doesn't take itself too seriously, with a script that successfully exploits the comic potential latent within the original novel.

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Cosmos, Crisis, and Thanksgiving: A Reflection on Laudato Si'

June 23, 2015  •  The Catholic World Report

Reflecting on Pope Francis' new encyclical Laudato Si', Alan Jacobs notes that the encyclical's third chapter, "The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis," calls to mind an influential essay by Lynn White, entitled "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis." White's thesis is that the roots of the current crisis can be found in the Christian teaching that it is "God's will that man exploit nature for his proper ends." Surprisingly, White detects an alternative, healthy model of religious ecology in Francis of Assisi, whom he dubs a heretical exception to "orthodox Christian arrogance toward nature." By focusing on Francis as both an orthodox Catholic and as the embodiment of the ecological virtues of asceticism, gratitude, joy, and praise in the presence of creation, the Pope offers a double rejoinder to White.

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Books by Thomas Hibbs

Cover of Rouault-Fujimura: Soliloquies Cover of Arts of Darkness Cover of Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion Cover of Virtue's Splendor Cover of Shows About Nothing Cover of Dialectic Narrative In Aquinas

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