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July 15th, 2015, 09:28 AM   #1
Joined: Jul 2015
From: Italy

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Math Movies

Hi everybody...

I'm looking for movies that talk about math.

I found out this list, that's remarkable, but some titles could be missing...

Movies about Maths and Physics | Film About It

Do you know anything else?
Shakma is offline  
October 24th, 2015, 10:52 AM   #2
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As you probably know, a lot of the movies listed really only deal with math tangentially. Straw Dogs, for example, really has to do with societal breakdown and the violence bubbling under everyday interaction; Dustin Hoffman's character just happens to be a mathematician, and we occasionally get a glimpse at his chalkboard, which is covered with very complex work (I think he mentions studying celestial mechanics, but it's been a while since I've seen the movie), but the movie itself isn't really about math.

I don't know to what purpose you're making this list, but if you're open to something a little more off-the-beaten-path, I'd steer you towards the films of Hollis Frampton. He was an experimental filmmaker, and he's commonly lumped in with a movement called structuralism, wherein films call attention to, or are otherwise "about" their own structure. His works frequently touch upon his fascination with many of the sciences (principally physics and chemistry) as well as pure mathematics. One of his most famous films (and a personal favorite) is called Zorns Lemma, and is based on the proposition of set theory of the same name, which states: (copy/pasted from Wikipedia because set theory is not my area of expertise)

Suppose a partially ordered set P has the property that every chain (i.e. totally ordered subset) has an upper bound in P. Then the set P contains at least one maximal element.

Unless I'm mistaken (and if I am, please, someone more knowledgeable in this field, correct me) this means that, basically, that as long as the subsets of set P are organized in such a way that they can have upper bounds (maximal elements), then set P itself will have at least one upper bound (maximal element). Frampton's film mirrors this principle by comprising (in its middle and longest section - it also has a brief prologue and epilogue that deal more with language and signification, an issue which the main section does touch upon in a sense) of a very large set of all roughly one second long shots of signage around New York City. This set is organized alphabetically with whatever word is shown on the sign dictating the order, but rather than adhering to a strict alphabetical order, Frampton actually cycles through the entire (24-letter Latin) alphabet many times, using only one shot for each letter. This cycle constantly repeats, with the entry for each letter proceeding alphabetically (so the entry for S might be "sad" in the first cycle, then "Sadie," then "sage," etc.), until finally Frampton runs out of signs beginning with a certain letter (I believe X is the first to go) at which point it is replaced in every cycle by some image or film clip which has no identifiable relation with the letter (X is replaced with a clip of a bonfire at night). Following this process to its natural conclusion, the film keeps gradually eliminating letters (each one representing a subset of the greater set: all the shots of signs) until we finally see the last shot of the last set (the maximal element).

Now, again, I'm not sure if this is really the kind of thing you're looking for, and I'd understand if the very experimental nature of a film like this is a major turn-off. Just thought I'd share, especially since Frampton's one of the few filmmakers I can think of whose movies don't just happen to involve math, they really are about math. On the off-chance that you're curious, the Criterion Collection have actually released a pretty nice set of Frampton's most well-known and important films (called "A Hollis Frampton Anthology").
mizoguchi5354 is offline  
November 20th, 2015, 01:23 AM   #3
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Math Focus: Calculus
I have never heard about any movie which has mathematics subject in pure form, and even wonder whether it is possible to make one such movie because just imagine how would that movie look like, would we prove the principle of least action in it, well i don't know. But i know about some movie based on mathematicians, like 21(200, then fermat's room(2006), proof(2005) etc. A good list can be obtained on the Internet.
manishsqrt is offline  

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