Allegories of the End of Capitalism
How contemporary films transcode popular discontent with global capitalism.
In Allegories of the End of Capitalism, Milo Sweedler examines how filmmakers from six different countries, across four continents, give narrative and audio-visual form to the frustration and anger that burst into public view in 2011, the ongoing class war between the super-rich and the rest of the world's population, and the insurrection that it yet to come. Films examined include Melancholia, Cosmopolis, Suffragette, Django Unchained, Elysium and Snowpiercer.
"Allegories of the End of Capitalism ventures beyond the typical ambit of Hollywood Left productions to provide astute readings of six films from around the globe that agitate for revolution.' - Kirk Boyle, co-editor of The Great Recession in Fiction, Film, and Television
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Sweedler's book deserves to be widely read. Its subject is of vital importance. ~ Daniel Lindvall, Film International
Milo Sweedler’s book is an unfailingly interesting and indeed fun read from start to finish. Focusing on six films which conjure with various images of revolt against capitalism and even with capitalism’s demise, Sweedler offers accessible and intelligent decodings of the films, contextualised by reference to key cultural thinkers and political scientists.... The detailed micro-attention to and sophistication of his reading of film form are two of the book’s many strengths. ~ Mike Wayne, Culture Matters
It has often been said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Milo Sweedler’s highly readable and continually engaging book focuses on several recent films responsive in widely different ways to this lament. From considerations of the end of the world by celestial body to the creative destruction of financial markets, in both senses of the phrase, Sweedler places six “cinematic expressions of popular discontent” in a rich historical, theoretical, and aesthetic context, and demonstrates that, even in the bleakest circumstances, the hope of creating a better world survives. ~ Jeff Kinkle, co-author of Cartographies of the Absolute
Contradicting the assumption that popular film inculcates the masses with reactionary ruling-class ideologies, Sweedler argues that the motion picture industry cannot sell its wares if it ignores the real-world struggles of its viewing audience. If those struggles have become anti-capitalistic, so be it: films will find ways—at times direct, at times coded—to reflect the widespread discontent with global capitalism’s failure to deliver on its promises. Allegories of the End of Capitalism ventures beyond the typical ambit of Hollywood Left productions to provide astute readings of six films from around the globe that agitate for revolution. ~ Kirk Boyle, co-editor of The Great Recession in Fiction, Film, and Television: Twenty-First-Century Bust Culture