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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access March 22, 2019

Encounters with the Other: Transcultural Possibilities in the Wachowskis’ and Tykwer’s Cloud Atlas

  • Stephen Trinder EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Cultural Studies


The Wachowskis’ and Tykwer’s Cloud Atlas indicates strong potential for an investigation into the advancement of transcultural messages in global cinema because of its conceptual commitment to narrate the story against the backdrop of sexuality, race, gender, and class. By combining critical discourse analysis (Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, Power/Knowledge) with literary criticisms of postcolonial works (Hall, Hardt and Negri) and transcultural concepts of culture (Welsch, The Puzzling Form of Cultures Today; Rings, The Other in Contemporary Migrant Cinema), this paper investigates how far Cloud Atlas promotes transcultural identity constructs. Upon analysis of central themes and prominent characters Cloud Atlas transmits a message that if the aforementioned socio-cultural barriers can be overcome, we can cultivate something akin to a transcultural society. However, linkages to colonial discourse and quintessential cinematic conventions vis-à-vis white individualistic heroism demonstrate that Cloud Atlas’s liberal-humanist worldview is one that can ultimately be branded as compromised by monocultural assumptions of US values and ideals as superior.

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Received: 2018-09-22
Accepted: 2019-02-13
Published Online: 2019-03-22
Published in Print: 2019-02-01

© 2019 Stephen Trinder, published by De Gruyter Open

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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