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November 1997, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Ulf Dalquist <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 21 Nov 1997 09:08:51 +0100
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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>>Viet Nguyen wrote:
>I can't remember whether someone in the course of the discussion actually
>cited Robocop as an "anticorporate, anticapitalist" film; I might have made
>it up as a straw man.  That is, if someone were to take this position on
>Robocop, it would seem naive, in the sense that the ideological content of
>an anticapitalist film would certainly be altered if it is produced from a
>corporate location.  It would be difficult to see in what way the
>_reception_ of ideological content would not be altered by the ways in
>which films are produced, distributed, promoted, etc.  For films which
>expressly attack capitalism, this becomes an added problem.  Let me clarify
>and say that I am _not_ arguing that films can't critique capitalism simply
>because they're made by capitalists--what isn't, at this time?  In the case
>of Robocop, however, and in light of our comments on Verhoeven's cynicism,
>the anticapitalist critique would simply seem to be another marketing ploy,
>i.e., in the same way that politicians routinely bash the political
>"system" for their own gain.
First, I must say that my view on Verhoeven's films is not yet affected by
STARSHIP TROOPERS, since I have not yet seen the film. Sure he's a cynic,
but that does not equal fascist. Making films in Hollyweird, who could be
but a cynic... OK, calling ROBOCOP anticapitalist is taking it a bit too
far, the film doesn't critizise capitalism as a production system. It does,
however, question the Reaganite/Thatcherite idea of selling out the public
sector to private contractors.
Sure, you could make a more "anti-capitalist" film, but hardly inside the
major studios.
>I'm not sure where "neo-libertarianism" comes into play with Robocop.
The basic conflict in the film is that between "the people" and big
business who  due to the lack of regulation has become far more powerful
than the elected politicians. That's neo-libertarianism in my book.
Ulf Dalquist                  Phone:  +46 46 2229572
Dept. of Sociology              Fax:    +46 46 2224794
Box 114 221 00 Lund SWEDEN      E-mail: [log in to unmask]
"Only sick music makes money today." - Friedrich Nietzsche, 1888
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