Tuesday, March 20, 2007

300: Racist War Propaganda with Septic Timing | Art Threat | Political Art Magazine:

A.O. Scott dismisses the movie as stupid and violent, but it took in over $70 million during its opening weekend. Scott's dismissal failed to see something a lot of other Americans were quick to recognise. 300 is not a terrible film, its a fantastic film that panders to a fearful America. It is a brand of propaganda I had imagined was a thing of the past. 300 would make Leni Riefenstahl blush . I think this is a smart film, that a lot of thought went into its making, but that its intended audience is not Scott, it is young men and women of fighting age. 300 is following up on the success of Sin City. Both films are adaptations of comic books by Frank Miller, who also is credited as a producer for both films. The films share an aesthetic of digitally abstracted violence, real flesh is turned into the consistency of cartoon ink: it gives way like warm butter, without resistance and without regret or consequence. These are worlds of deep black and white. Sin City pioneered this aesthetic at the service of noir nihilism. With 300 this stylized violence is harnessed to the cause of glorifying total war. 300 is a pornographic vision of power and perfection and has only contempt for the disfigured and unfamiliar. It plays on the contemporary fear that we are facing a clash of civilizations, and stokes that fear with racist imagery. By calling up old Aryan dreams of a classical world peopled by blond haired blue eyed individuals, and threatening that world with an undifferentiated dark-skinned horde, the film panders to the ugliest aspect of America. Race separates good from evil in this film, this is part of the way it promotes total war. 300 would have us believe that no quarter can be given to our enemies because they are sub-human and hideous.

3:29 AM