Australasian Journal of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology (AJE), Vol 3 (2013)

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Thinking Long/Thinking Ecologically: Time Travel, Film and Ecological Agency in 12 Monkeys

Emma Katrina Nicoletti


This discussion focuses on philosophical understandings and aesthetic representations of the ecological interrelatedness of temporally distant past and future worlds. It does so through an analysis of Terry Gilliam’s dystopian time travel film 12 Monkeys (1996), which features intersections between the deterioration of the subject and the environment. The essay considers this film in relation to Timothy Morton’s notion of ‘thinking big’ (The Ecological Thought) and Gilles Deleuze’s notion of time as repeated difference (Difference and Repetition). This discussion argues that 12 Monkeys both stages and interrogates Morton’s concept through its time travel narrative and filmic techniques. Furthermore, it suggests that from this reading emerges the possibility of seeing the medium of film itself as a catalyst prompting ecological thinking and agency.

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