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On the Need for an Explicitly “Anarchist” Cinema

Culture

Almost since the birth of cinema, anarchists and anarchism have been a subject for exploration (and exploitation) on film. So much so, that films with anarchist protagonists or anarchic themes could literally fill a book. Indeed, such films *have* filled a book; Richard Porton’s Film and the Anarchist Imagination (1999, Verso) provides an exhaustive examination of the influence of anarchist ideology on this particular sector of the culture industry. As a self-identified anarchist and film producer, I would have to give Porton’s text much credit for inspiring this article, and my work in general. Though this is not a review or a synopsis of his text and anyone who desires a much more detailed discussion of the topics, that I merely graze here, should head immediately to his brilliant book.

On the Need for an Explicitly “Anarchist” Cinema

by Denmark Vesey
Dissident Voice
September 28th, 2012

Almost since the birth of cinema, anarchists and anarchism have been a subject for exploration (and exploitation) on film. So much so, that films with anarchist protagonists or anarchic themes could literally fill a book. Indeed, such films *have* filled a book; Richard Porton’s Film and the Anarchist Imagination (1999, Verso) provides an exhaustive examination of the influence of anarchist ideology on this particular sector of the culture industry. As a self-identified anarchist and film producer, I would have to give Porton’s text much credit for inspiring this article, and my work in general. Though this is not a review or a synopsis of his text and anyone who desires a much more detailed discussion of the topics, that I merely graze here, should head immediately to his brilliant book.

What quickly becomes clear when one seriously studies the interrelationship of anarchism and cinema is that the relationship has largely been of a one-sided nature; with the most commonly noted “anarchist films” being those not created by artists who would self-identify as anarchists, but rather films that utilize a maligned and stereotypical image of the anarchist that shares many commonalities with representations of other marginalized social elements. A stereotyped image especially similar to all of those who have, at one time or another, posed some perceived threat to the hegemony of the plutocratic & patriarchal status quo. In good company with libertine women, indigenous peoples, African-Americans, colonized nationals, the disabled, and the so-called “criminal element” in various “civilized” societies; anarchists comprise a significant part of a larger marginals milieu. A people whose value for the cinema often lies in sensationalistic and wildly inaccurate representations. At the turn-of-the century (not the last turning, but the previous one), anarchists appeared often in film as a social bugbear very much like the role that turbaned terrorists and violent Islamic jihadists have played for Hollywood since the waning years of the Cold War in the late 1980s.

Yet, as many of the other members of that marginals milieu have also accomplished over the course of time, sympathetic writers and directors in the cinematic tradition have (on occasion) allowed anarchist protagonists to perform roles contradictory to the typical black-clad bomb-throwing trope of the early 1900s. Even if merely by romanticizing the tale of the doomed rebel by creating essentially anarchist characters for the frequently recurring cinematic “antihero”.

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On the Need for an Explicitly “Anarchist” Cinema | 1 comments | Create New Account
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On the Need for an Explicitly “Anarchist” Cinema
Authored by: toledoliberation on Sunday, September 30 2012 @ 12:22 PM CDT

Whats the advantage in this whole 'label', 'image' 'scene' thing that we feel the necessity to champion. Its not like without it somehow people wont see that things need to change or that people will give up on trying new modes of change. Organizing around similar people and learning about the same ideas is comfortable and ok, but we need diversity and not limit ourselves with dogmatic boxes to hide in. Were not smarter than everyone, we don't have all the answers, if we did stuff would be fixed. Just because some doesn't call themselves a neo-post-structurlist-ecomarxist doesnt mean their not in the same fight for the same thing, it doesnt mean that their lack of understanding for your political theory will make them any less adept at fixing the basic problems that we face, and if we don't collaberate/identify with the 'others' then we will only see a minute part of the problem/solution.