The Rise of “Meta” Themes in The Arts Of a World Where Everything is Media

Many shows are being put in settings of the 70s or 80s to be in the safe side, like Stranger Things, The End of the F World, I’m Not Okay with This, etc. And for the movies and T.V. shows that take place in our era, they are getting meta, like The Scream and Spiderman: No Way Home. How do we flip this disconnection: How can we make TV shows about people who watch TV shows? One director that did this a long time ago was Eric Rohmer, and it was meta as well.

In Pauline A La Plage and La Collectioneuse by Eric Rohmer, the movies show the consumption of media within it, they are always handling a book. In many of these movies, the characters talk about media consumption and thoughts themselves. A story is talking about people talking about stories. In this sense, Eric Rohmer is comforting the viewers: We can still be alive and consume stories of different lives at the same time, and it is okay to say that. In The Collector, this person that went on vacation realizes that thinking and doing nothing, not consuming any stories of any form, whether movies, books, music, etc, is more tiring than work itself.

“Letting thoughts wonder, without a book, without one to lead your mind, is the most difficult way to live life. To work is easier.” — La Collectioneuse, 1967.

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Nabil Houari

Nabil Houari

Utopianist, in the lines between fiction and reality. I’m a social science researcher & I blog on lifestyle and mental health.