MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Antonia's Line (1995)
Marleen Gorris
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Contributed by Fusun Akman, Coastal Carolina University

About three or more generations of strong and self-sufficient women who live on a farm and the people around them. Antonia's granddaughter is a genius, namely a mathematician and a musician. But she must be a lousy teacher because she proves a theorem in homology theory on blackboard before you can say `Hom`. She is very self-centered and hardly looks up when her daughter injures herself in play."

This Dutch film follows the story of Antonia who returns to her small hometown just after the end of World War II. We meet all of the crazy people in the town (believe me, there are a lot of them) and Antonia's own descendents.

Of special interest is Therese, Antonia's granddaughter, who shows mathematical genius as a child, and grows up to be both a composer and a math professor. We see her teaching a class in which she proves a theorem using category theory.

I am pleased to report that despite the stereotype, Therese is one of the least crazy characters in the film. On the other hand, as Fusun reports above, she is supposed to be a bit cold. Actually, I was a little bothered by the fact that even her interest in mathematics seems to be cold and completely sterile. In fact, mathematicians tend to be passionate about mathematics, to feel that it is beautiful. From the dull way she lectures about mathematics, and the way her interest in music is presented as her only aesthetic aspect, I think the film clearly implies that mathematics is "soulless".

Still, I really enjoyed this movie! It was a refreshing, thought provoking and charming change from the typical Hollywood garbage.

More information about this work can be found at us.imdb.com.
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Antonia's Line
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Continuums by Robert Carr
  2. Good Will by Jane Smiley
  3. Three Days and a Child by Abraham B. Yehoshua
  4. Leaning Towards Infinity by Sue Woolfe
  5. Three times table by Sara Maitland
  6. It's My Turn by Claudia Weill (director)
  7. Hole in the Paper Sky by Howard Kingkade (Screenplay) / Bill Purple (Director)
  8. Proof by David Auburn (playwright)
  9. Strange Attractors by Rebecca Goldstein
  10. Tigor (aka The Snowflake Constant) by Peter Stephan Jungk
Ratings for Antonia's Line:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
2/5 (5 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
3.8/5 (5 votes)
..

Categories:
Genre
MotifProdigies, Anti-social Mathematicians, Insanity, Academia, Proving Theorems, Female Mathematicians, Math as Cold/Dry/Useless, Religion,
Topic
MediumFilms,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)