Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Trauma Film Screenings in December

Trauma Film Screenings present: Capitalism in Cinema: A Brief History

Presented by Gözde Naiboğlu

This season will see the screening of three thrillers framing three different periods of capitalism experienced in three different settings: 1950’s in a South American vil...lage, 1920’s oil boom in California, and Hanover of former West Germany, present. What unites these three films is not their exploration of the savage virulence of capitalism according to the thriller genre conventions, but the questions that they provide us with: what sort of subjects does capital require and produce? What are the desires and beliefs that mobilize the (non)characters on screen and what symptoms of the capital-logic do these processes of desire production demonstrate? The season aims to delineate these symptoms by following the transformation of subjectivities throughout the transformation of labour. From the naturalist settings of the early to mid 20th century industrial capitalism to the eeriness of the post-industrial world of contemporary finance capitalism, the three films attempt to expose the in-human quality of capitalism’s operational logic.

Monday 5th December
Le Salaire de la Peur (1953)
Dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot
We (along with a long list of filmmakers) shall forever be thankful to the author of the novel “Le Salaire de la Peur”, Georges Arnaud for his arguably bigoted decision to give the rights to the film to a French filmmaker instead of Hitchcock. Set in an abject town in Venezuela, the film opens with an American oil firm boss’s offer to pay a big amount of money to whoever accepts to transport two trucks filled with highly explosive nitro-glycerine which will be used to extinguish a nearby oil-well fire. The slow paced, nightmarish journey is one of the most intense trips in the film history that is, in Karel Reisz’s words, “unselectively and impartially anti-everything”.

Monday 12th December
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
Set in early 1900’s California and loosely adapted from Upton Sinclair’s novel “Oil!”, There Will Be Blood is a dark dialectical account of capital and religion which touched a nerve for its relevance today. The main character of the film, the greedy oil pioneer Daniel Plainview, which won the actor Daniel Day Lewis an Academy Award for Best Actor in 2007 is one of the most fascinating characterizations of the archetypal “homo economicus” ever performed. Day-Lewis’s affect-free performance of Daniel Plainview is the focus of the introduction to the film - with its pure beastly quality it is a perfect exhibition of the pre-subjective and inhuman quality of capitalism.

Monday 19th December
Yella (2007)
Dir. Christian Petzold
The “Berlin School” director Christian Petzold’s Yella tells the story of a recently divorced young woman leaving her hometown in former East Germany to find a job and start anew in the World Expo 2000 host city Hanover in former West Germany. The whole film is about money, as the director explains in an interview there is not a single scene without money’s presence in it. Yet the strictly materialistic and mundane non-spaces of the post-industrial German town paradoxically exude an atmosphere of otherworldliness. The non-characters pass through these spaces and barely leave footprints behind, and are constantly chased by the ghosts of the past. Yella presents an almost clinical exploration of the operations of today’s finance capitalism.

All screenings are FREE and start at 6pm in Manchester Lecture Theatre, All Saints Building, Oxford Rd.

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