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Film and the Anarchist ImaginationExpanded Second Edition$
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Richard Porton

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043338

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043338.001.0001

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Anarchism and Cinema

Anarchism and Cinema

Representation and Self-Representation

Chapter:
(p.9) 1. Anarchism and Cinema
Source:
Film and the Anarchist Imagination
Author(s):

Richard Porton

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252043338.003.0002

This chapter discusses how, from early cinema to the present, the demonization of anarchist protagonists is evident in films made by both commercial hacks and auteurs with more rarefied sensibilities. Most filmmakers usually proffer de-historicized versions of anarchism, which nurture specific agendas that have little to do with historical reality. It is important to remember, nonetheless, that hyperbolic images of anarchist terrorists, conspicuous in both Hollywood and European cinema, from the early work of Edwin S. Porter and D. W. Griffith to the apparently more sophisticated films of European cineastes such as Claude Chabrol and Bertrand Tavernier, do not exist in a vacuum. For this reason, a brief historical excursus is necessary to explain the staying power of the wild-eyed, homicidal anarchist as a popular cinematic stereotype. The chapter then looks at the ambiguous representations of anarchism in the twenty-first century and the perils of self-representation, assessing Joel Sucher and Steven Fischler's documentary Anarchism in America (1981). It also considers the link between “free love” and anarchist sexual politics. Finally, the chapter addresses anarcho-feminism in cinema and the question of violence.

Keywords:   cinema, anarchist protagonists, anarchism, anarchist terrorists, cinematic stereotype, self-representation, anarchist sexual politics, anarcho-feminism, violence

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