Don’t yell fire! The origin of humanity goes to the movies
in Framing cosmologies
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This chapter focuses on a film that directly deals with gaining control of fire and which resonates with traditional myths of the kind that Claude Lévi-Strauss has studied: Jean-Jacques Annaud's Quest for Fire. It explores Annaud's film from the standpoint of one fateful artistic decision that ramifies through the whole: specifically, the decision to cast the dawn of humanity as an epic rather than a myth. The chapter explores the themes often encountered in traditional mythologies, and which are also present in an interesting form in Annaud's film. The consequences of Annaud's recasting of myth as epic can be best illuminated through comparison to another cinematic human-origin scenario that is Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both films have numerous resonances with human origins as recounted in traditional mythologies and can be profitably and appropriately analysed in relation to the latter.

Framing cosmologies

The anthropology of worlds

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