St. John's College Santa Fe Student Activities

Mad Max: Guerrilla Seminar

By Cara Zhang

On Monday and Thursday evenings, 7:30-9:30 pm is the ever important Seminar time. During the two-hour discussion, Johnnies have a close encounter with the great books, exploring great works of literature, philosophy, history, and theology. Last Wednesday, a special seminar was set up by Mr. Carl, a St. John’s tutor. Several Johnnies gathered together at the Levan Hall, participating in the discussion on the Mad Max: Fury Road, a George Miller action fantasy.

For a film lover like me, this was a brilliant chance to gain a grasp of some deeper meanings behind scenes which I’d seen in the film but had not given much thought to. We paused and replayed various scenes and shots, trying to analyze and explain the significance of it all both thematically and visually. The themes within the discussion touched on the vision of the apocalypse, femininity, redemption, solidarity, the extreme environmental damage, and the reference to various mythologies.

We examined the scene where the war boys, motivated by a religious furor and devotion to the immortal Joe, each gathering a steering wheel from a V8 altar within the Citadel. We found that, in this movie, cars are almost an extension of their personalities, their bodies. Besides the personalized steering wheel, we also discussed other religious artifacts that are associated with the Cult of the V8. The skeletal makeup that the war boys daub themselves with and the chrome spray paint which they use to glorify their bodies.

Another question that Mr. David raised interested me a lot: why did Max leave the Citadel at the end? We dwelt on this question for quite a while. A lot of proposals were made. Some suggested that, in the new community without the immortal Joe, there was no place for him; some said that even in the end Max was the only one who was still haunted by his past and the flame of who he once was still burnt inside of him.

We had a lively, informative, and entertaining discussion. By bringing together different people, the seminar consistently challenged me to deepen my understanding of the film. Heated arguments, as well as insightful comments, help form the vital Johnnies community. I am looking forward to more guerrilla seminars as such that will take place this semester!

0 comments on “Mad Max: Guerrilla Seminar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: