La Société du spectacle (1973)

Society of the Spectacle is a 1973 film by Situationist Guy Debord based on the 1967 book of the same title.
The 90 minute film took a year to make and incorporates footage from The Battleship Potemkin, October, New Babylon, Shanghai Gesture, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Rio Grande, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Johnny Guitar, and Confidential Report, as well as Soviet and Polish films, industrial films, American Westerns, news footage, advertisements, and many still photographs. Events such as the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the revolutions in Spain in 1936, Hungary in 1956 and in Paris in 1968, and people such as Mao Zedong, Richard Nixon, and the Spanish Anarchist Durruti are represented. Throughout the movie, there is both a voiceover and inter-titles from "Society of the Spectacle" but also texts from the Committee of Occupation of the Sorbonne, Machiavelli, Marx, Tocqueville, Emile Pouget, and Soloviev.

The Society of the Spectacle is a critique of contemporary consumer culture and commodity fetishism. Before the term ‘globalization’ was popularized, Debord was arguing about issues such as class alienation, cultural homogenization, and the mass media.
In a consumer society, social life is not about living but about having; the spectacle uses the image to convey what people need and must have. Consequently, social life moves further, leaving a state of 'having' and proceeding into a state of 'appearing;' namely the appearance of the image.
You can buy The Society of the Spectacle.


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