Could someone recommend any movies about or relating to Marxism? I don’t care if it’s a documentary or a drama. I’ve done some reading already on Marxism. I’m just trying to explore it more. Also I’m not thinking about becoming a marxist or anything. I’m just curious and I want to learn more.
Just last month I was at a conference called “Marx at the Movies” in Preston, England. I learned a lot about some great films. Most interesting maybe was a presentation on the only movie about the life of Marx produced in East Germany. Of course, I can’t remember the name of the film or the director! It was an obscure work.
“Also I’m not thinking about becoming a marxist or anything.”
Thank you for this important clarification!
Check out Marx Reloaded (http://www.marxreloaded.com/) which is an excellent documentary about the contemporary relevance of Marxist ideas.
Bohemia Docta, or the Labyrinth of the World and the Lust-house of the Heart (A Divine Comedy) – Karel Vachek – Czech Republic (2000)
I haven’t seen it yet, but…News from Ideological Antiquity – Marx/Eisenstein/Das Kapital – Alexander Kluge – Germany (2008)
As far as I know it’s the only actual attempted film adaptation of Capital.
Don’t you mean Capital?
Apparently my stupidity knows no bounds…
Like all my recommendations on MUBI threads, it consists of good stuff I’ve seen recently…
Pro-Marxism: Wind from the East (or any other Groupe Dziga Vertov film), Norma Rae, L’Amour Existe, Carlos, Accent on Love, Film Socialisme, Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets (along with every other film by Terayama).
Anti, critical or satirical: Farewell My Concubine, 2084, Daisies, The Last Bolshevik, A Bucket of Blood (somewhat).
Marxist or Marxist-leaning takes on non-Marxist subjects: Walker, Parisienne People, Zero for Conduct, Letter Never Sent, Sugar Cane Alley, The Rules of the Game, Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, Slacker (arguably), Liverpool (arguably), Wendy and Lucy.
no love for reds? i guess it’s debatable how much it is ‘about marxism’. and i’m not sure i would call carlos pro-marxist exactly… terrific film tho. liked it quite a bit better than uli edel’s baader-meinhof complex
I think any major work by Sergei Eisenstein will qualify, imo.
Surprisingly, no one mentioned Godard’s WEEK END.
“Also I’m not thinking about becoming a marxist or anything.”
Good. I stil don’t understand why anybody living in a free society would.
Norma Rae? Being pro-union means your pro-Marxist? I think a lot of burley Teamsters would be surprised by that designation.
The ideas behind it are quite Marxist.
I AM CUBA might be the ne plus ultra pro- Marxist motion picture. This masterpeice is stunning in every category, and its political romanticism can be excused considering the time and place from which it originated.
Ruby, I was impressed with the honesty of CARLOS (an amazing film if you see the full version) in depicting the narcissism and delusional nature of Carlos and the Marxist zealots who comprised his outfit.
They are so far gone, it’s almost like they defy parody.
To some extent, REDS does reveal the sheer tedium and over-earnestness of certain figures from the glory days; those meetings and discussions go on for days it seems.
Rather than a critique of Marxism, both REDS and CARLOS function as indictments of its most eager proponents.
I wonder if that might not be inevitable. DR. ZHIVAGO, BURNT BY THE SUN, FREEZE, DIE, COME TO LIFE, and THE LIVES OF OTHERS illustrate that, so far, any Marxist endgame invariably someone taking a bullet in the back, or being shipped off to a Gulag, etc.
That in turn suggests that Marxism’s strongest and most determined proponents have always recognized that such a system requires putting an egregious authoritarian structure in place before the average guy will comply with such a scam.
“… those meetings and discussions go on for days it seems.”
Yes, what a boring lot they were, acting as if they were dealing with important things. If only they had had Tweetwer back then.
Dogville is almost in-your-face.
A small Marxist town infiltrated and eventually destroyed by the corruption of capitalism.
“Marxist”? Were there any Marxists towns in the US west back in the 1930s? I thought Dogville was just a standard “honest country folk versus corrupt city slickers” kind of tale that has been done a million times before but filmed like a 1950s TV playhouse melodrama.
Do La Condition Humaine counts?
You will not find notions of Marxist dialectics put to better effect than the old Soviet montage school, and I mean quite apart from the agitprop value of the films.
Glauber Rocha, and especially his Terra em Transe.
Koji Wakamatsu, I suppose.
Chaplin was a staunch Marxist, but you won’t find any clue in the actual films.
The Battle of Algiers is done through a Marxist perspective by the director (Pontecorvo) and screenwriter (Solinas) that is almost Hegelian though a bit simplistic from what actually transpired. Although the FLN did identify as socialist it was mainly national liberation than Marxism too. The film also does not avoid showing religion or using religious music.
Umm…wasn’t the town already corrupt, and wasn’t the infiltration more ideologically Marxist than the town? (Or are you suggesting Grace is personally to blame for their abuse of her?)
More ‘Abusively xenophobic country folk opportunistically enslaving an enabling passerby’.
I find The Kid and Modern Times pretty distinctly Marxist, they just show it more through capitalism’s treatment of the lead characters than any outright speech. And The Great Dictator gives the outright speech.
Star Trek: The Next Generation is a pretty distinctly Marxist television show.
Ken Loach’s Land and Freedom is about a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain who goes off to fight in the Spanish Civil War.
Time for me to call bullshit. I can’t see a commercial entity like Star Trek having Marxist undertones, yet alone overtones.
ACTUALLY, the Star Trek universe is full of truly marxist overtones… a lot of people tend to misconstrue marx’s ideas as the stuff that hitler, stalin, castro (along with communist hungary and poland) followed and implemented, but such is not the stuff of Marx.
Marxism is all about conflict theory, in that people fight over scarcity of resources (most basically), and his communism is only to come about by peaceful change, when everyone realizes the only way to a peaceful world is through equality and with working together as equals, as mere men and women living.
Star Trek is allllll about the equality and not having money and doing something for the challenge, the interest, for hte good of man…. the series has much more to offer than the movies, but its all good.
With that said… Star Trek: Insurrection dabbles around some of Marx’s ideals in a pretty basic sense, but its nice to see them in such a presentation nonethless
Oh, no, I understand the difference between Marxism and cult-of-personality politics. I just find it hard to believe that Gene Roddenberry intentionally put them in a show that was aimed at a commercial, all-American audience, or that those ideas would have survived in future incarnations of the series.
I wonder if Carson could clarify whether He is primarily interested in a.) films related to Karl Marx and his theoretical concerns, b.) films related to Marxist-Leninist/Maoist political struggle (which is extremely different from Marx’s actual theories to the point of really being a different thing), c.) films whose directors identified explicitly as Marxists, d.) films that lend themselves to Marxist readings.
Many people in the United States (because of cold war ideology) tend to conflate Marxist ideas with the “use” of these ideas (or at least the label) within the Soviet Union and Peoples Republic of China. Just to clarify (and oversimplify) Karl Marx’s theories of revolution considered that communism could only be established when the very wealthiest and most imperially powerful nations had socialist revolutions. Folks in places like Russia and China proclaimed themselves communists but didn’t want to wait for Germany, France, The UK or (later) The United States to have socialist revolutions. The idea that Russia could have a revolution and become a communist country is antithetical to Marx’s actual theory of social change. The idea that China could do this is even more distant from Marx’s ideas. There are many legitimate critiques of Marx’s ideas but one can’t legitimately critique him based on revolutions that used his name that his own theories would have predicted to be failures.
It is very clear that countries like the USSR and the PRC were never communist countries. They may have used that label but the United States used the label of democracy when slavery was legal and women were not allowed to vote- so self-appointed ideological labels are pretty silly things. The USSR and PRC were state controlled capitalist countries which is differentiated from “free market” capitalist countries. The economic systems were not different b/c by the 20th century capitalism had already created a global economy that all nations have to exist in. Marx knew that socialism in one state could not exist. This is why he theorized that they only way for true socialism to stand a chance was for the richest and most powerful nations to have communist revolutions. Many people who critique communism are critiquing Lenin/Trotsky’s ideas that poorer countries without advanced capitalism can jump into socialism. Marx’s writings are pretty clear that if radicals tried to do that the countries would probably become authoritarian or be defeated economically.
By the way I am not saying here that I oppose the Russian or Chinese Revolutions as advances. I am just trying to clarify that Marx can’t be blamed for things He never predicted or wanted to have happen. Critique Marx for his actual ideas. Critique Lenin/Trotsky/Mao etc. for their actual ideas.
Star Trek is all about a universe where money ceases to exist and humanity bands together to grow as a species and overcomes the need for war. Then they found a giant humanitarian military where top of the line military craft are devoted mostly to scientific exploration and research.
When they win a war, instead of moving in for the kill and acting as conquerers, they try to spread their ideals and get the defeated nation to join the Federation by the same ideals.
Also they represent all of capitalism as the Farengi.
Now, Deep Space Nine rebelled against that, but Next Generation was always distinctly Marxist.
It’s true, Marx can’t be blamed for the violence done advancing Marxism. But he was incredibly naive to think that people would produce more for ideals than for incentives without the threat of violence.
@Craig, I’m interested A and D, but B would be interesting also.
a.) films related to Karl Marx and his theoretical concerns,
d.) films that lend themselves to Marxist readings.
b.) films related to Marxist-Leninist/Maoist political struggle
Karl Marx? Damnit! I thought this was going to be about Groucho or mabye even Harpo. :)
Rodenberry must be rolling in his grave by all this Marxists readings of Star Trek. He was an ex LAPD officer and US army air force veteran , VERY right wing, who became a scriptwriter in the 50s working in cop shows like Highway Patrol.
“After graduation (High School) , Roddenberry took classes in Police Studies at Los Angeles City College and became head of the Police Club, liaising with the FBI.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Roddenberry