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The Society of the Spectacle (1974)
"La société du spectacle" (original title)

 |  Documentary  |  1974 (France)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 366 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 2 critic

Guy Debord's cinematic analysis of consumer society based on his influential book "La société du spectacle" (1967).



(book), (screenplay)
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Credited cast:
Guy Debord ...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leonid Brezhnev ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Jacques Duclos ...
Himself (archive footage)
Buenaventura Durruti ...
Himself (archive footage)
Robert Fabre ...
Himself (archive footage)
Nino Ferrer ...
Himself (archive footage)
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Alexei Kosygin ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Zedong Mao ...
Himself (archive footage)


Guy Debord's landmark cinematic analysis of consumer society is based on his influential sociological book "La société du spectacle" (1967). Debord was a leading member of the avant-garde art movement 'Situationist International'. This cinematic essay uses their method of 'détournement' to decontextualize and rearrange preexisting audiovisual materials and texts to critizise them and create new meaning. The result is a subversive collage of ideological (moving) images from socialist and capitalist societies that are presented here as artefacts of a global media 'spectacle': Social relations between people are mediated by artificial images and false representations that transform humans into mere passive consumers and 'spectators' of their alienated existence. Guy Debord's motivation was to create a radical social critique and a disruptive, anti-illusionist cinema as an antidote and revolutionary tool against the dominant cultural and sociopolitical forces of his time. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

1974 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Sociedade do Espetáculo  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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The worst movie ever made
18 January 2008 | by (Victoria, BC. Canada) – See all my reviews

I think this was the worst movie I have ever seen, though I had a pretty low opinion of Last Year at Marienbad. It was so bad, I started to laugh. It consists of black and white footage of crowds, bullying soldiers and masses of people, punctuated everyone once in a while by topless women writhing and pawing at their bodies, and one scene of a young male pop singer silently writhing on the ground as if having an epileptic fit. The sound track is in French. I think the script was possibly composed by computer stringing together random abstract nouns. The effect is hypnotic and meaningless, though oddly depressing.

There is only the most tenuous thematic relationship between the narration and the video. I kept thinking the movie was over, and it would pick up again like some nightmare I could not wake from. It was amateurish and incredibly self indulgent and self important. The film could have been easily condensed to 60 seconds to put across its message, that civilisation imposes conformity and an empty pursuit of commodities.

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