Against Cinema
Guy Debord Retrospective
  • Howls for Sade
  • On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time
  • Critique of Separation
  • The Society of the Spectacle
  • Refutation of All Judgments, Whether in Praise or Hostile, Thus Far Rendered on the Film The Society of the Spectacle
  • In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (We Spin Around the Night Consumed by the Fire)
  • [1973]

    The Society of the Spectacle

    La Société du spectacle

    - FRANCE / 1973 / French and others / B&W / 35mm (1:1.37) / 80 min

    Director, Script: Guy Debord
    Original Text: La Société du spectacle, Éditions Champ Libre, 1967
    Editing: Martine Barraqué
    Researcher: Suzanne Schiffmann
    Sound: Antoine Bonfanti
    Production Manager: Christian Lentretien
    Production Company: Simar Films
    Producer: Gérard Lebovici
    Music: Michel Corrette
    Voice: Guy Debord
    In the “détournement“ of the preexisting films, the works made use of are: John Ford, Rio Grande   Nicholas Ray, Johnny Guitar   Josef von Sternberg, Shanghai Gesture   Raoul Walsh, They Died with Their Boots On   Orson Welles, Mr. Arkadin   Sam Wood, For Whom the Bell Tolls   as well as “the works by a certain number of bureaucratic filmmakers of the so-called socialist countries“
    International Distribution: Love Streams Production agnès b.
    Source: Carlotta Films

    - The film was produced on the basis of Debord’s 1967 book of the same title, a compilation of his thoughts and SI theory. While listening to Debord’s incessant narration, we are exposed to the continuous images of the world that has become an extreme spectacle: aerial bombings in Vietnam; the Spanish Civil War; the Hungarian Uprising; May ’68 in Paris; Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK’s assassin; Richard Nixon’s meeting with Chairman Mao; Stalin’s political speeches; factory workers under the Hitler regime; fashion shows; women in bikinis; pictures of Monroe; and the westerns by Raoul Walsh, John Ford and Nicholas Ray. The “detourned” images and language present to us the reality of capitalistic society, which has become a spectacle. At the same time, they criticize the very social relationships that individuals form through the intermediary of images. “In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.” (Debord)