Friday, May 11, 2007
Cinema Reviews: 300
It's well known that the hook for every big-budget film is deployed in the trailer. These films are not art and do not deserve to be considered as such. But the trailers are revealing.
This is 300 though it might as well be called The Phalange. An expensive publicity campaign for this film ran at the same time as the US administration threatened war against Iran (formerly Persia).
This film is notable for its naïvety and its reproduction of racist figures. But central to its appeal is a valorisation of idiocy typical of commercial cultural product.
Firstly what you get is the sound effects, turned up too loud, with a fragmentary message, something about Aryanism. This is to introduce "Adult to Child" communication, if only formally, since the content is hardly the work of adults.
300 works around ideas about knowledge. Knowledge, in this case, must be understood in its most important sense, as social and sexual knowledge. What the film does is reproduce the discourse of the hypothetical village idiot, who can barely think or speak, who understands almost nothing of customs or history, as if this ignorance, rather than its opposite, was indissolubly linked to the male sexual ideal. 300 is a fairy palace of idiocy, which even here cannot be loved for what it is, but only tacitly accepted for a short while. For this reason the Spartans are condemned to die, in order to remove the context where this SEN discourse would be ridiculed and punished, as it is in reality every day in class society.
The militant idiocy of The Phalange is worthless, ideologically speaking, in any genre other than genocidal warfare. 300, however, is hardly bound by the constraints of the old bourgeois cinema, and is not at all restrained from imagining its Others along the lines of a racist miscegenation fantasy. This is Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, shown as everything Aryanism represses: a teeming mass embodying the repressed gay sex fantasies that cannot but be induced in its bullied masochistic Aryan audience.
This is Nazi cinema and ought to be regarded as such.