Category Archives: CultCrit

THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE, by Guy Debord, 1973, 88 min. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

La Société du Spectacle (Society of the Spectacle) is a black and white 1973 film by the Situationist Guy Debord based on his 1967 book of the same title. It was Debord’s first feature-length film. It uses found footage and detournement in a radical criticism of mass marketing and its role in the alienation of modern society. Continue reading THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE, by Guy Debord, 1973, 88 min. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

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CONFRONTATION: PARIS, 1968, documentary, 42 min.

Confrontation: Paris, 1968 is a documentary that looks at the student and worker upheaval and demonstrations in Paris during May 1968. The film was made by Seymour Drescher, Professor in the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh, former student of George Mosse, and author of Abolition: A History of Slavery and Antislavery.

THE LOST GENERATION: A&E Biography documentary, 2001, 91min

The Lost Generation is a documentary produced by A&E Biography in 2001.  It first aired on November 15, 2001.

The Lost Generation, in general, is the post-World War I generation, but specifically a group of U.S. writers who came of age during the war and established their literary reputations in the 1920s. The term stems from a remark made by Gertrude Stein to Ernest Hemingway, “You are all a lost generation.” This generation included artists and writers who came of age during the war such as F. Scott Fitzgerald,[1] T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Olaf Stapledon, Sherwood Anderson, John Dos Passos, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Djuna Barnes, Glenway Wescott, Waldo Peirce, Isadora Duncan, Abraham Walkowitz, Ezra Pound, Alan Seeger, Henry Miller, Aldous Huxley, Malcolm Cowley, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Erich Maria Remarque, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and the composers Sergei Prokofiev, Paul Hindemith, George Gershwin and Aaron Copland.

The documentary focuses on American expatriate writers living in Paris in the 1920s,including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Archibald MacLeish, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and John Dos Passos.

REBELS: A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND, EPISODE 3 OF 6 “TURN ON THE REVOLUTION”, documentary, 47min.

 Episode 3 of the 6-part canadian documentary series, “Rebels”,  by writer/director Kevin Alexander.  “Turn On The Revolution” focuses on the massive cultural shifts experienced during the 1960’s through the popularization of psychedelic drugs and an enhanced political awareness amongst the emergent youth culture.

In 1959 a twenty-six year old creative writing student named Ken Kesey became a guinea pig for LSD experiments conducted by the CIA and later used this experience to write “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest.” Timothy Leary, a Harvard research psychologist turned rebel guru, told people to “Turn on, tune in, drop out!” while an anti-war activist named Abbie Hoffman led a peace demonstration at the 1968 Chicago democratic convention. This film delves into the world of hippies and yippies; young people who put themselves at risk in pursuit of “perception” and democratic freedom.

Continue reading REBELS: A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND, EPISODE 3 OF 6 “TURN ON THE REVOLUTION”, documentary, 47min.

JAMES BALDWIN DEBATES WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, Cambridge University, 1965, 60min

Historic debate between James Baldwin v. William F. Buckley Jr. at Cambridge University on the question: “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?”

Below is an interesting commentary which looks back upon the debate, from OpenCulture.com:

One often hears lamented the lack of well-spoken public intellectuals in America today. Very often, the lamenters look back to James Baldwin, who in the 1950s and 1960s wrote such powerful race-, class-, and sex-examining books as Go Tell It on the MountainGiovanni’s Room, and The Fire Next Time, as one of the greatest figures in the field. Though Baldwin expatriated himself to France for much of his life, he seems never to have let the state of his homeland drift far from his mind, and his opinions on it continued to put a charge into the grand American debate.

Continue reading JAMES BALDWIN DEBATES WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, Cambridge University, 1965, 60min

REBELS: A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND, EPISODE 2 OF 6 “A NEW KIND OF BOHEMIAN”, documentary 47min.

Episode 2 of the 6-part canadian documentary series, “Rebels”,  by writer/director Kevin Alexander.  “A New Kind Of Bohemian” focuses on The Beat Generation:  “Following World War II, a new period of post-war social complexity overtook America. It was during this turbulent, often repressive Cold War time that Jack Kerouac coined the phrase, “beat” and gave birth to a new literary movement. This film follows the activities of this new breed of writer: Kerouac, Cassady, Ginsburg and a handful of outsiders who became known as the “Beat Generation.”

Continue reading REBELS: A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND, EPISODE 2 OF 6 “A NEW KIND OF BOHEMIAN”, documentary 47min.

REBELS: A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND, EPISODE 1, “SOCIETY’S SHADOW”, 47 MIN

Rebels: A Journey Underground is an excellent Canadian documentary history of “the counterculture” produced for television in the late 1990s and narrated by Kiefer Sutherland. It’s the work of writer/director Kevin Alexander, who did a great job with it. More people should see it. I’m happy to see that the series has been posted in full on YouTube.

The six-part series covers a wide swath of historical countercultures moving from William Blake and 1830s Parisian bohemians to mostly 20th century movements like hippie, Jazz, Beatniks, punk, and what was at the time the series was produced, the brave new world of cyberspace. Continue reading REBELS: A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND, EPISODE 1, “SOCIETY’S SHADOW”, 47 MIN

MICHEL FOUCAULT: THE LOST INTERVIEW, 16 minutes

Notes on the video:

This until now rarely seen 15-minute footage is of an interview that was conducted by the Dutch philosopher Fons Elders in preparation for the debate between Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault, which was broadcasted on Dutch television on Sunday, Nov. 28, 1971. The whole interview was essentially lost for decades and was published in the winter of 2012 for the first time. It is now available as a full-length book under the title of “Freedom and Knowledge.” It includes an excellent introduction by author of “Mad for Foucault,” Lynne Huffer, and additional contributions by Fons Elders. Continue reading MICHEL FOUCAULT: THE LOST INTERVIEW, 16 minutes