communists in situ

leberwurst proletariat

Tag: film

Siegfried Kracauer (1889-1966): Collected Works


“The position that an epoch occupies in the historical process can be determined more strikingly from an analysis of its inconspicuous surface-level expressions than from that epoch’s judgments about itself. Since these judgments are expressions of the tendencies of a particular era, they do not offer conclusive testimony about its overall constitution. The surface-level expressions, however, by virtue of their unconscious nature, provide unmediated access to the fundamental substance of the state of things. Conversely, knowledge of this state of things depends on the interpretation of these surface-level expressions. The fundamental substance of an epoch and its unheeded impulses illuminate each other reciprocally.” – Kracauer, The Mass Ornament, 1927

By Siegfried Kracauer:

The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays (1922-1931)

The Salaried Masses: Duty and Distraction in Weimar Germany (1930)

From Caligari to Hitler A Psychological History of the German Film (1947)

Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality (1960)

The Pasts Threshold: Essays on Photography (1927-1951)

Siegfried_Kracauer’s_American Writings: Essays on Film and Popular Culture (1941-1961)

History-The Last Things Before the Last (1969)

On Siegfried Kracauer:

Koch, Introduction to Siegfried Kracauer (2000)

Gilloch, Siegfried Kracauer: Our companion in misfortune (2015)

Hansen, Cinema and experience: Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno (2012)

Craver, Reluctant Skeptic: Siegfried Kracauer and the Crises of Weimar Culture (2017)

Reeh, Ornaments of the Metropolis_ Siegfried Kracauer and Modern Urban Culture (2005


Ockman, Between Ornament and Monument: Siegfried Kracauer and the Architectural Implications of the Mass Ornament

Forrest, The Politics of Imagination: Benjamin, Kracauer, Kluge, 2015

Fictional Communists


Who’s your favorite fictional communist? 


KGB agent Leo Demidov, the hero in Tom Rob Smith’s trilogy of Soviet thriller novels, isn’t a terribly rich character in his own right. But the intrepid, thoughtful Demidov acts as a convincing stand-in for a generation of operatives who watched from the inside as the Soviet machine transformed itself and ultimately sputtered to a halt. His struggle to reconcile reality with party orthodoxy begins in the first (and best) book of the series, Child 44, which has Demidov investigating a serial murder case while he tries to maintain the official pretense that the USSR is a crime-free society. Nikita Khrushchev’s shocking repudiation of the Joseph Stalin personality cult gives its name to the second book, The Secret Speech, and Demidov’s disillusionment deepens accordingly. By the last half of the final book (Agent 6), Demidov hopes to escape his homeland once and for all, so he fights to outrun the ever-encroaching tendrils of the massive Soviet intelligence apparatus. Demidov isn’t just the central figure in a series of vibrant thrillers—he’s also a glimpse into what it might have been like to live through the USSR’s major political upheavals, which those of us in the Western world could only watch from afar. – John Teti

Here’s how good Dr. Strangelove is: It features my favorite Hollywood commie, and he never even shows up in the flesh. Soviet Premier Dimitri Kissov exists only as the other side of an exasperating phone conversation with U.S. President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers at his deadpan best), but he’s such a thoroughly sketched character that it’s hard not to fall in love. Found at an unlisted number (because, as the Russian ambassador sheepishly notes, this man of the people is “also a man, if you catch my meaning”), Kissov is drunk, partying, and delightfully petulant. (When Muffley explains he’s not calling just to say hello, the smashed statesman demands to know why he wouldn’t do just that.) Dr. Strangelove is an entire movie about how our poor, doomed world is light on actual villains but heavy on supposedly well-meaning idiots (and that the latter are just as dangerous as the former, when nuclear bombs are in the mix), and portraying Kissov as a childish buffoon, instead of a sneering supervillain, only heightens the human tragedy of the apocalypse to come. It doesn’t hurt that he gets (indirectly) one of the movie’s best punchlines: When nuclear expert Strangelove (also Sellers, also brilliant) demands to know why the Russians haven’t told anybody about their perfect, world-ending deterrent, the ambassador explains that it was going to be announced the following Monday. “As you know,” he says, with just a hint of a sigh, “The premier loves surprises.” – William Hughes

My love for Zangief knows no bounds. Though he’s now billed as hailing from the Russian Federation, Street Fighter’s premiere wrestler has deep Soviet roots. With the USSR’s full support, he traveled the world pile-driving rivals into oblivion for the glory of Mother Russia and nothing more. His hyperbolic patriotism led to some of the series’ funniest moments—like the time he celebrated his Street Fighter II victory with an ersatz Mikhail Gorbachev “in the appropriate Russian fashion” (doing a Hopak dance with the Soviet president, of course). But thanks to an endearing personality that’s as massive as his physique, Zangief’s appeal transcends geopolitics. There’s an earnest goofiness beneath all those bear-wrestling scars, which the artists at Capcom have continued to amplify throughout The Red Cyclone’s 25-year street-fighting career. In Street Fighter V, it’s gotten to the point where, whenever you choose to play as him, he responds by flexing every muscle and screaming “CYCLONE” at the top of his lungs while his eyes bulge and his entire body convulses. How can you not love this guy? – Matt Gerardi

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Winter Anti-Reviews 2015-2016, pt 2



Deadpool: Boy Meets Girl. Girl Fucks Boy. Boy Gets Cancer. Boy Gets Superpowers. Boy Turns Ugly. Girl Misses Boy. Boy Wants Girl Back. Boy is Ugly. Boy turns Crazy. Boy Kills Everyone. Comedy Ha Ha Revenge Love Parody Cliche Wink Wink Give me your money.

Hail, Caesar! Communists, Jews, and Queers all play a role in the movie of capital. The division of labor that characterizes modern societies of production is reflected in the division of the Godhead, the division of the movie business, the division of man. Absolute Spirit in the form of Religion (Christianity), Art (Film), and Philosophy (Communism) are the three ideological systems that struggle for supremacy, with art and religion uniting under the sign of economy (not money!) to overcome the threat of communism as the sexually deviant force which could disrupt the Production of Capitol (pictures). The genres of film types (Western, Musical, Melodrama, Epic)  mimics the jobs of life, in which each actor is but a proletarian sacrificing themselves to the God who cannot be seen–the christ, the boss, the economy. The meta-genre of Hollywood is noir, which uses and abuses workers, women, and the law to reproduce the illusion of stability, family, and morality in a world of bombs, homosexuality, and class struggle. Superseding theology and dialectics, the true unity of man lies in accepting his own internal divisions, in which faith is faithless, and the essence of the good is nothing other than the light of the image itself. 

Youth: Old men, young women. Disgusting.

Anomalisa: The emotional sublime penetrates the ice of bourgeois social relations in the form of a human connection. 

Everybody Wants Some: Still dazed, more confused. 

Carol: Without men, love can be beautiful.

13 hours: Mercenary imperialist private contractors as American superheroes, Hilary Clinton as supervillain, Libyans as whatever. 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  The old regime and peasant class survive the transition to capitalism in the English countryside as the Undead, returning in the form of the repressed side of primitive accumulation. Patriarchy eats brains as feminism emerges within the shell of the old world.

How to be single: Modern Dating Movie. 

Zoolander 2: Metrosexual Identity Crisis of the middle-aged man. 

Race: Black Proletarian vs. Aryan Slave-Masters can only end in AMERICA. 

Gods of Egypt: White people play Egyptians in this non-allegory of the Arab Spring. 

The Witch: See under, “Caliban, and” 

Winter Anti-Reviews 2015-2016, pt 1



Star Wars: The Force Awakens –  Oedipal drama returns for millennials caught in the same cycle of struggles as their parents because they were unable to defeat capitalism in its previous incarnation due to incomplete development of the Force, i.e, class struggle. Syrian civil war reflected in the New Republic, First Order, Resistance triangle, such that militants, foreign agents, traitors, generals, pirates, and lovers have no clue what’s going on except they’ve seen it all before and it’s spectacular

Chi-Raq – Civil war as gun violence as male gang violence in black Chicago can only be stopped by female proletariat in their own self-abolition 

The Danish Girl – Mythical origin of trans identity as romantic tragedy for europeans losing their innocence in a world transitioning to capitalism

The Big Short – Marxist crisis theory as male hobby to make money 

Joy –  White female housewife crushed under the weight of patriarchy finally breaks on through to the freedom of entrepreneurial capitalism 

In the Heart of the Sea – Moby Dick without Loren Goldner is counter-revolutionary

Sisters –  Sex, drugs and party is not only for male dickwads but female cougars who feign transgression only to reassure traditional morality

Concussion – American football as capitalist sacrifice of flesh to the gods of war is confronted by medical ethics

The Hateful Eight – Politics as the necessary conversation between fractions of the proletariat with opposed interests can only end  in communism or violence 

The Revenant – America as the self-abolition of Man and Nature without the positive supersession into the Gemeinwesen

Point Break – Classic surf-noir film recycled for the eco-conscious cross-fit generation who dreams of having their cake and eating it too

Fall Anti-Reviews 2015



Sicario: a reverse western. normally for a western, the vacuum of government requires individual heroic violence to establish law, order and markets. but here governments and markets lead to so much chaos that the law needs to bring back individual violence to reestablish a market order outside the law.

The Martian: the Lockean illusion of robinsoe crusoe as the original capitalist becomes reality in this allegory of a scientific super-hero who uses technology, humor and interstellar communication to fight non-natural nature on mars while humans on earth develop a new universal social contract.

Spectre: Conspiracy theory as rational choice for modern Englishman’s lack of importance in global capitalism.

Creed: Rocky retold as a black lives matter biopic.

Black Mass: How the Irish became white.

Steve Jobs: A paean to our last god, a frail mortal who touched the heavens by conquering the social form of mediation.

Suffragete: Class war as gender war as moral war as political war.

99 Homes: Foreclosure crisis as proletarian horror story; abstract law of value takes human form. Property owns people, work is suicide.

Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2: Revolution against capital, against patriarchy, against the state, against itself reveals the negativity of communisation in our present moment.

The Walk: Metaphor of individual bravery, daring, and ingenuity hidden within another metaphor for French stupidity and American spectacle.

Trumbo: Communism as retro chic.

Bridge of Spies: Berlin as morally ambiguous city between decaying empires. Still true today.

The Intern: Feminism leans against a glass wall which only a male baby boomer can break.


New blog, one line ultra-political reviews of contemporary films, every few months:


Film is a cemetery littered with the carcasses of failed revolutions. Rotten bodies stuffed with audio-visual souls haunt billions of minds day and night like a plague upon the earth. More than food or sex, film satisfies our most biological needs for survival. Through film we kill, die, fuck, shit, fly, and survive the hell that is our daily life. In crowded air-conditioned temporary zones of spectacular consumption we meet other proles and share non-stories of our lives by looking together in parallel rows at raw emotions that we’ve never felt. Together not-together we laugh, cry, smile, and feel human in a perfectly safe environment with an organized schedule managed by the collective mind of rational animals calculating exactly how to turn a tear into a profit. Concentrated in the production line of seats we produce our shared impotence in front of sublime images of power. Film raises the dead and lets them roam the earth as the zombies we must kill before we can abolish ourselves. To get there first, we must descend into the inferno of cinema. There is no abolition of cinema without its realization. Welcome to our torture.