The Name of The Rose; Directed By: Jean-Jacques Annaud; Written By: Umberto Eco; Starring: Sean Connery and Christian Slater

By: Elizabeth Hagele, Waverly Hurd and Lindsay Geier

September 20, 2016

            As we have discussed in class in much depth, the idea that different mediums have slowly evolved over time. Convergence, one of Baran’s five trends of media, alters almost all aspects of the book industry in today’s present society (Baran, 58). The erosion of traditional distinctions among media have all transformed and converged into being readily available on specific devices. “Hundreds and thousands of in- and out-of-print titles are available for platform agnostic publishing—digital and hard-copy books available for any and all reading devices” (Baran, 60). The immediacy of information these devices contain has ultimately eliminated the need for having separate mediums.

The iPhone has become a necessity to individuals. Not only does it emphasize the progressive and fast-paced moving world we live in, but it also embraces and shapes how our society functions. As humans and inventors, we encourage the constant rush and updated technology, where Baran conveys the idea of technological determinism, that, “to some thinkers, it is machines and their development that drive economic and cultural change” (Baran, 16). The iPhone has almost everything an individual might need in the palm of their hands. One can search the inter-web and ask questions, find out the weather, watch television, and most importantly read pieces of literature. The idea of technological determinism would encourage iPhone users, to note that as a society, we must utilize it responsibly and thoughtfully to construct and maintain our culture (Baran, 17).

The Name of the Rose is a 1986 Italian-French-German drama mystery film, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, and is based off of the novel by Umberto Eco. This deadly mystery film in the medieval abbey exemplifies the beginning of this digitalized revolution, as it begins with Aristotle’s 14th century book of poetics in the scriptorium being the center of the unknown cause of death in the abbey.

This film takes place in 1327 C.E. During the Medieval time period, the church was being challenged. The major role the abbots played was copying and illustrating ancient books and manuscripts. There was much controversy within the Catholic churches, which paralleled with the current state of society, as there was constant conflict, strife, and challenging of typical ideas. Religion was the major unifying factor across European cultures. The purpose of religion was to be able to explain the unexpected. Throughout this film, there was a divide between William of Baskerville and his apprentice, Adso of Melk, versus majority of the Northern Italian Benedictine abbey inhabitants.

While William investigates the recent deaths occurring at the abbey, he concludes that there is a logical reason for the cause of deaths, while the other Abbots believe that there is a supernatural cause. During the film at 15:25, William says to Adso, “we must not allow ourselves to be influenced by irrational rumors of the Antichrist. Let us instead exercise our brains and try to solve this tantalizing conundrum” (Annaud, The Name of the Rose). As Adso and William discuss this compelling and corrupt mystery, they touch upon Aristotle’s influence upon William himself and physical science. Aristotle was a controversial Greek philosopher during this time period. Aristotle creates separation between the church as his pieces of literature suggest the use of deductive reasoning.

This film takes place during the end of the medieval period. The points of view and ideals put forth by Aristotle continue to influence individuals during the Renaissance era. During this time period it can be believed that knowledge is being reborn, as monks attempt to re-scribe and revise manuscripts to be once again shared with society. Jorge and other monks of this time are hesitant and against the use of Aristotle’s books as they question and downplay the role of the supernatural forces. Baran discusses the importance books play within cultures, which directly correlates with The Name of the Rose, as the monks are frightened by the power Aristotle’s books hold over society. Baran states, “books traditionally have been seen as a powerful cultural force for these reasons: books are agents of social and cultural change, books are an important cultural repository, books are our windows on the past, books are important sources of personal development, books are wonderful sources of entertainment, escape, and personal reflection” (Baran, 53). During the end of the Medieval time period and into the beginning of the Dark Ages, the church is highly being questioned. Many abbots try to ostracize and belittle individuals who try and question the supernatural world, by using logic to explain events.

From the film at 1:04:50, Jorge says to William, “Brother William your pride blinds you. By idolizing reason you failed to see what is obvious to everyone in this abbey” (Annaud, The Name of the Rose). The attempt to belittle and make William feel as though he is completely crazy to think logic could be a cause for the deaths, fails, as William triumphs and succeeds to discover that Jorge poisons this book of logic due to his own fear that logic might be more prevalent than the church’s opinions.

The purpose of this movie is to shed light on how this time period utilizes books to spread shared meaning and how it influences a culture greatly. It allows individuals to interpret readings through the use of deductive reasoning without being influenced or swayed by the church’s past ideals. Books during this time were sacred, and only the wealthy could access them. It’s important to note that overtime, our culture had embraced reading and books. The Name of The Rose, strongly emphasizes the concept of reading and understanding means to hold knowledge. In this context, to hold knowledge, also indicates the notion of power. The manuscripts produced by monks, not only a shared meaning between mass media and their audience, but evidentially shaped our society today.