Film and the Anarchist Imagination

Film and the Anarchist Imagination

by Richard Porton
     
 

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Bearded bomb-throwers, self-indulgent nihilists, dangerous subversives-these characteristic cliches of anarchists in the popular imagination are often reproduced in the cinema. In Film and the Anarchist Imagination, the first comprehensive survey of anarchism in film, Richard Porton deconstructs such stereotypes while offering an authoritative account of films

Overview

Bearded bomb-throwers, self-indulgent nihilists, dangerous subversives-these characteristic cliches of anarchists in the popular imagination are often reproduced in the cinema. In Film and the Anarchist Imagination, the first comprehensive survey of anarchism in film, Richard Porton deconstructs such stereotypes while offering an authoritative account of films featuring anarchist characters and motifs. From the early cinema of Griffith and René Clair, to the work of Godard, Lina Wertmuller, Lizzie Borden and Ken Loach, Porton analyzes portrayals of anarchism in film, presenting commentaries and critiques of such classics as Zéro de Conduite, Vivre sa Vie, and Love and Anarchy. In addition, he provides an excellent guide to the complex traditions of anarchist thought, from Bakunin and Kropotkin to Emma Goldman and Murray Bookchin, disclosing a rich historical legacy that encompasses the Paris Commune, the Haymarket martyrs, the anarcho-syndicalists of the Spanish Civil War, as well as more familiar contemporary avatars like the Situationists and the enragés of May 68.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Porton (cinema studies, Coll. of Staten Island) presents a study of how anarchy, as a political theory or belief, has been presented on the screen in feature films and documentaries. Readers with some prior knowledge of this political philosophy and the names associated with it will get the most out of the work. The majority of the films under consideration are American or European and were not made by anarchists. Porton examines film portrayals of anarchist heroes and martyrs such as Joe Hill, Sacco and Vanzetti, and Buenaventura Durutti and illustrates other anarchist topics by examining specific films--Zero for Conduct, If, and Jonas Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 are used in the consideration of anarchist pedagogy. He also covers anarcho-feminism, the revolt against work, anarcho-syndicalism, anti-statist insurrections, and bohemia. Few of the films discussed earn Porton's whole-hearted approval. For large academic collections only.--Marianne Cawley, Charleston Cty. Lib., SC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
David E. James
“Richard Porton’s erudite and eloquent history of anarchist cinema breaks new ground in both film and cultural studies; there is nothing comparable to it in English.”
Paul Avrich
“A pathbreaking work. Alive with intelligence and perception, it is both elegantly conceived and written.”
Sean Sullivan
“This is a major addition to the scholarship around radical film history, and if you have anything more than a passing interest in film or anarchism, I strongly suggest you pick it up.”
Yvonne Rainer
“Porton traces the anarchist Zeitgeist, reconnects and rekindles those ideas and images of anarchist fervor that have been so distressingly dismantled and suppressed in our time. An exhilarating act of recovery.”
Catherine Saint Louis - New York Times Book Review
“Porton’s astute and engaging study provides a needed corrective to the ‘laughably unsubtle’ movies that recycle stereotypes and half-truths.”
From the Publisher
“Richard Porton’s erudite and eloquent history of anarchist cinema breaks new ground in both film and cultural studies; there is nothing comparable to it in English.”—David E. James, author of Power Misses: Essays Across (Un)Popular Culture

“A pathbreaking work. Alive with intelligence and perception, it is both elegantly conceived and written.”—Paul Avrich, author of Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background

“This is a major addition to the scholarship around radical film history, and if you have anything more than a passing interest in film or anarchism, I strongly suggest you pick it up.”—Sean Sullivan, Maximumrocknroll

“Porton traces the anarchist Zeitgeist, reconnects and rekindles those ideas and images of anarchist fervor that have been so distressingly dismantled and suppressed in our time. An exhilarating act of recovery.”—Yvonne Rainer, filmmaker

“Porton’s astute and engaging study provides a needed corrective to the ‘laughably unsubtle’ movies that recycle stereotypes and half-truths.”—Catherine Saint Louis, New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781859847022
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
08/28/1999
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
8.04(w) x 8.05(h) x 1.02(d)

What People are saying about this

Sean Sullivan
Sean Sullivan, MaximumRocknRoll, December 1999

This is a major addition to the scholarship around radical film history, and if you have anything more than a passing interest in Film or Anarchism I strongly suggest you pick it up.

Meet the Author

Richard Porton is editor at Cineaste and has taught film studies at the College of Staten Island, Hunter College, Rutgers University, and New York University. He has written on film for a variety of publications including Cinema Scope, In These Times, and Moving Image Source. He is the author of Film and the Anarchist Imagination.

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