La société du spectacle (Society of the Spectacle) is a 1973 film by Situationist Guy Debord based on his 1967 book of the same title. It was Debord’s first feature-length film.
The 88 minute film took a year to make and incorporates footage from The Battleship Potemkin, October, Chapaev, The New Babylon, Shanghai Gesture, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Rio Grande, They Died With Their Boots On, Johnny Guitar, and Mr. Arkadin, as well as other Soviet films, industrial films, news footage, advertisements, and still photographs. Events such as the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald (who assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963), the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the Paris riots in May 1968 are represented, and people such as Mao Zedong, Richard Nixon, and the Spanish Anarchist Durruti. Throughout the movie, there is both a voiceover (of Debord) 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. Without citations, these quotes are hard to decipher, especially with the subtitles (which exist even in the French version) but that is part of Debord’s goal “to problematize reception” (Greil and Sanborn) and force the viewer to be active. —Wikipedia
Guy Ernest Debord (December 28, 1931 – November 30, 1994) was a French Marxist theorist, writer, filmmaker, hypergraphist and founding member of the groups Lettrist International and Situationist International (SI). He was also briefly a member of Socialisme ou Barbarie.
Guy Debord was born in Paris. His father died early, and he was raised by his grandmother in a series of Mediterranean towns. He was a headstrong youth, and after graduating high school he dropped out of the University of Paris where he had been studying law. He became a revolutionary poet, writer and film-maker founding the Lettrist International schism with Gil J. Wolman. In the 1960s he led the Situationist International group, which influenced the Paris Uprising of 1968. Some consider his book Society of the Spectacle (1967) to be a catalyst for the uprising.
In the 1970s Debord disbanded the Situationist International, and resumed filmmaking with financial backing from the movie mogul and publisher… read more
In Godard’s 1967 “La Chinoise,” a collective of young left-wing intellectuals spend the summer in a house of question alongside Godard’s familiar philosophy and poetics. The film is politically oriented… read review