CASTRO, J. C. L.
Cinema, consumer society and spectacle.
Book of abstracts of the III Annual London Film and Media Conference,
Resumo: If Marx calls attention to the relations behind the appearance of the commodity, Benjamin highlights a different aspect of commodity fetishism: the commodity as spectacle, for instance in arcades, universal expositions, and department stores. This spectacle relates to the one provided first by protocinematic dispositifs (such as the diorama, the panorama, the kaleidoscope) and then by the cinema. Throughout the twentieth century, the consumer and the cinematic dimensions of the spectacle attain even more integration, as Debord makes evident in his analysis (which he, fittingly, unfolds in film) of the society of spectacle. Movies, as we know, are commodities themselves. Both commodities in general and movie images appeal to the public through the mediation of specialized people, who may trade places sometimes: advertisers and models on the one hand, directors and actors on the other. In both consumption and cinema, the desire of the public is molded by the spectacle. Cinema can promote a lifestyle linked to consumer goods, like the American suburban life in the second post-war, or promote some goods in particular, like what was done with cigarettes for decades. And even spectactorship is subject to commodification, as a kind of labor at the service of capital.
Palavras-chave: cinema, consumer society, commodity fetishism, spectacle, Benjamin, Debord.