Did you manage to catch all the films screening on campus this month?
Many exciting films were screened on campus this month. Cinema Politica’s Montreal chapter, founded in 2004 at Concordia University, screened Labor (dir. Trove Pils, 2023), a Swedish film which explores sex work, sexual exploration and self discovery as protagonist Hanna moves to San Francisco on Nov. 6, and La bataille de La Plaine (The Battle of La Plaine, dir. Sandra Ach, Nicolas Burlaud and Thomas Hakenholz., 2021), a French documentary which follows the gentrification and resistance efforts of the district of La Plaine in Marseille, France, on Nov. 13.
Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema screened Geographies of Solitude (dir. Jacquelyn Mills, 2022) on Nov. 10. Mills graduated from Concordia’s BFA program in 2008. Her film is a documentary about Sable Island and Zoe Lucas, the woman who has spent a large part of her life studying and documenting everything about it. Mill’s film is an immersion into this life and its landscapes.
One screening remains for November: The Society of the Spectacle (dir. Roxy Farhat and Göran Hugo Olsson, 2023). On Monday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m., Cinema Politica will host the Montréal premiere the latest film from acclaimed Swedish director Göran Hugo Olsson and acclaimed artist Roxy Farhat. The film is an adaptation of Guy Debord’s prophetic 1967 essay La Société du Spectacle (translated as The Society of Spectacle), which is an indictment of the image-saturated consumer culture of his time.
In this essay, Debord argues that representation has replaced authentic experience and interaction. The text analyses the concept of “spectacle,” which is Debord’s term for the everyday manifestation of capitalist-driven phenomena, which includes advertising, television, film and celebrity. Debord describes how spectacle functions to obfuscate the past and future into an undifferentiated mass, creating something of a hyper and perpetual present. Here, the spectacle is a social phenomenon where life recedes into a representation, which Debord describes as a “a separate pseudo-world that can only be looked at.”
Six decades later, Olsson and Farhat utilise found footage, contemporary images and original scenes to examine and illustrate Debord’s indictment of consumerism and the ways the unending circulation of images impacts how we see ourselves and interact with each other. Images of the climate crisis and selfies are in dialogue with renowned scholars, as Olsson and Farhat unpack the society of the spectacle.
Visit the Cinema Politica on Nov. 27 to witness Olsson and Farhat’s attempt at the daunting challenge of creating a film tackling a complex theory that critiques the notion of image itself. Cinema Politica asks that audiences wear a mask to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
This article marks the start of a regular column at The Concordian, where I will round up films screening at and around Concordia. Stay tuned for December films coming in our next print issue.