Posted tagged ‘In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni’

Film Comment Selects: Guy Debord Retrospective

February 25, 2009

Tired of following the crowd?

Film Comment Selects is presenting a complete retrospective of Guy Debord’s rarely shown and hard-to-find films. Debord, born 1931 in Paris was a writer, filmmaker, and founder of Situationist International, an experimental group functioning in art and politics to revolutionize the everyday. Theoretically founded in Marxism, the Situationists played a large role in the political movements of the sixties, notably in May ’68. Their primary goal was to critique the capitalist system and make apparent the detrimental influence it exerts over society as a whole. Mostly renown for his book, The Society of the Spectacle (1967), and later the film (1973), Debord opens the famous text, “In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into representation”. Debord holds capitalism responsible for an illusion of freedom and fulfillment caused by a culture dominated and mediated by images. He observed that social relations have been replaced by reverence to the spectacle, leading to the isolating condition of modern life. His films function to critique this appropriation of everyday life by altering found footage (including film historical heavyweights, Potemkin and Johnny Guitar) to exaggerate and subvert his subject of critique, a method he called détournement. All six of his films will be shown on Sunday March 1st: In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (1978), The Society of the Spectacle (1973), Réfutation de tous les jugements (1975), Hurlements en faveur de Sade, (1952), On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time (1959), Critique de la separation (1961).

-Aily Nash

Tickets here


Film Society Week Ahead Feb 25-Mar 4: Rock on, Guy Debord retro and brand new films!

February 25, 2009


TONIGHT ONLY! A special Film Society screening and party! Retrieve your angst, throw on your fishnets and doc martens and get ready to rock! Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains screens tonight, with a post-punk afterparty and raffle of memorabilia associated with the movie! We all know what happened last time. You don’t want to miss out.

A special Guy Debord retrospective this weekend! You’ll be thinking to yourself: the more things change, the more they stay the say the same while partaking in Debord’s incisive, visionary take on culture in films such as Society of the Spectacle and In girum.

Brand new films you won’t see anywhere else! No-holds-barred Korean thriller The Chaser and the whimsically wayward Mexican comedy Lake Tahoe later this week.

Check the filmlinc blog each day for exclusive dispatches from the series!

From The Hurt Locker to Paradise, situationists to Korean thrillers, Film Comment Selects tickets now on sale!

January 30, 2009


The yearly two-week series of idiosyncratic visions, must-see restrospectives and the occasional nekkid lady handpicked by the editors of Film Comment is back and it’s more provocative than ever. A few highlights of this year’s selection:

A rare chance to see a pair of legendary cult documenaries from the early 80s by filmmaking couple Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines. A must for fans of American Movie and American Teen, here’s your chance to check out Demon Lover Diary and Seventeen.

A rocking Guy Debord retrospective. We whetted your appetite with In girum at the New York Film Festival, now you can fully immerse yourself in Debord’s unique world-view. What you were looking for, puppy dogs and rainbows?

One more major Film Society screening and afterparty: see Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains–a backstage satire and valentine to the faded glory of punk featuring a then-unknown Diane Lane and Laura Dern in flaming eye shadow and fishnet stockings–followed by a post-punk afterparty featuring DJ’s Dan Selzer (Acute Records) and Aileen Brophy (Corita). We all know what happened last time. You can RSVP on Facebook.

The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow’s rewriting of the action genre, a high-adrenaline look at soldiers putting their lives on the line in Iraq that’s been garnering lots of festival buzz and year-end list love.

An unrelenting new action thriller from South Korea (and a mega hit and award-winner in that country), The Closer.

Michael Almereyda’s latest, Paradise, a fragmentary video diary that defies categorization. Almereyda will join author Jonathan Lethem onstage after the film for a Q&A.

Stayed tuned for in-depth coverage from the filmlinc blog, but for the moment, see the whole program here.

Views from the Avant-Garde starts tonight!

October 3, 2008

Writing in the New York Times, A. O. Scott hails the “brilliantly challenging new work” in this year’s Views from the Avant-Garde, which begins tonight with a screening and panel discussion on Guy Debord’s 1978 work, In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

From "The White Rose" by Bruce Conner, screening during a tribute to the influential filmmaker. A. O. Scott writes: “A reminder that the boundaries among collapse, sculpture, cinema and poetry are fungible and porous, and also that this country has occasionally produced artists whose imaginations defy limitation and convention with startling ease.”

And don’t miss special coverage of Views on the filmlinc blog:

Film Comment’s Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa sits down with some of the program’s contemporary voices: Ken Jacobs, plus Taylor Dunne and Joel Schlemowitz.

A preview of Debord’s In girum.

See the whole program, and buy tickets, on

Bookmark our continuing coverage of Views from the Avant-Garde

From "The Scenic Route" by Ken Jacobs, screening as part of the program "still wave" on Sunday at 6pm

i pallindrome i: Debord’s final film 30 years later

October 2, 2008

If at any time over the last eight years you’ve been haunted by the idea that the ongoing failure of our political leadership is just a symptom of our larger problems, then do yourself a favor and go see Guy Debord’s In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni. While the government will change, we are stuck with the people who permitted them to get away with it: we are stuck with ourselves. That is to say, we all have some explaining to do.

Most famously in his 1967 book (and later film) The Society of the Spectacle, Debord presented one of the most incisive and damning critiques of Western society as we move from producers of goods to consumers of culture. Debord painted a picture of directly lived experience subordinated to and gradually subsumed into an omnipresent media culture.  With In girum, his final film, Debord begins with an unyieldingly negative assessment of society (and in particular the movie-going public) before turning to himself and his compatriots.

“I have merited the universal hatred of the society of my time, and I would have been annoyed to have any other merits in the eyes of such a society,” says Debord, and some viewers may be moved to hatred by a tone so self-aggrandizing that its veers into autohagiography. But rather than worrying how far short from justifying his extraordinary self-regard Debord’s achievements fall, we should be concerned more with whether our own justify our umbrage. It may be no longer possible to believe in Debord’s program, but we have failed to put anything in its place.

Barack Obama and many of his younger enthusiasts insist that it is time to move us beyond the stale debates of the 1960s and that their movement is at the threshold of something fundamentally new. Some things to consider while watching In girum: What, if anything, does it mean that their rhetoric echoes language from Debord? What, if anything, does it mean for us to be sitting at a film festival decades later viewing In girum?

In girum opens Views from the Avant-Garde, which runs October 3-5 as part of the New York Film Festival.