Reflections on Dualism in Blade Runner 2049

Is it possible to know what it is like to want to be desired or loved, without a soul? This thought-provoking question is grappled with throughout the film Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017). The protagonist Officer K (Ryan Gosling) is a Nexus-9 replicant who works for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and secretly yearns for real humanity, at least within his programmed limits. His love interest (Ana de Armas as Joi) is but a hologram, yet in her final moments, she attempts to utter the words “I love you.” Before she can finish, her virtual presence is wiped from existence, her data permanently destroyed. Continue reading Reflections on Dualism in Blade Runner 2049

Mukbangs and a Culture of Gluttony

Watching someone succumb to their food cravings in grotesque fashion has provoked different reactions; some are hypnotized by the concept, some are repulsed, and some are simply confused. But overall, eating shows have become more or less normalized. What does this say about a new global culture, where a trend in one part of the world can be catapulted worldwide by the strength of American content creation? What are the consequences? What does our Islamic tradition have to say about eating shows? Continue reading Mukbangs and a Culture of Gluttony

The Fine Line: A Film Critique of Doucouré’s “Cuties”

Even before Maïmouna Doucouré’s Cuties, or Mignonnes in French, was released on Netflix, it ignited international debate. The trailer alone provoked huge controversy for the film’s questionable use of minors, representation of minorities, and framing of Islam. Although raw emotion and knee-jerk reactions can be impulsively misleading and hinge on mob mentality, they may also be incredibly revealing. The instinctual response to a film says a lot about how well it conveys its message appropriately. Continue reading The Fine Line: A Film Critique of Doucouré’s “Cuties”