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Saturday, October 4, 2014

REVIEW:Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - A Reading Through ZIZEK

They are not interchangeable - The Players
Darren at them0vieblog.com in Dublin is my go to person for blockbusters.
He seems to have seen them all multiple times, loves them but critiques them wonderfully and integrates them with each other. 
He truly loves them.

But the real deep readings come from UnemployedNegativity

I never used to watch them, I have no history with them, but I have started to go based on what Darren says. I recommend him for anyone. And do take your children.I now see why Jean Baudrillard used to go to multiplexes when in the US instead of independent art films. It is far more interesting to see what Hollywood wants the young - testosterone parade - to be injected with. We watch the Invisible Real from Hollywood's POV.

Not intending to see this film I hit it on my last night at the discount theater The Palace in Springfield MO. What a surprise for me. I loved every minute of it.

I am assuming you know the plot if you are reading this. The asshole breaks trust between Caesar and Malcolm when he pulls out a gun that was supposed to have been confiscated. On the surface this looks like what starts everything and in a way it does. But there is always someone who breaks the trust so count on it as a cliche. Reading a little deeper we are introduced to the betrayal of the Native Americans by the White Man. There always was a White Man then who had integrity, became trusted by the Native Americans, negotiated the treaty that led to the betrayal he had never intended. In other words he was the "trusty" that fronted for the duplicitous generals, leaders, et al who had other intentions. We see this in govt today. At the moment this "trusty" is Elizabeth Warren. She is being watched to see if she breaks the faith. (Clue: she already has by supporting the recent increase in war in the Middle East.Women cannot appear soft on war if they want to win elections.)

And so war begins between the apes and men, then conflict among the apes themselves and rivalry and conflict among the humans. And so it begins. 

And as this war plot unfolds we see the same-old, same-old story.

Here it is in a 2 minute video:

127,000 have watched it it's that good.

What comes through in this movie when watching through Zizek eyes is the Zizekian INVISIBLE REAL.

The men want power to continue the lifestyle they used to have before the viral disease decimated the population. The apes have acclimated to the world that exists now. Men want to create the same simulacrum all over again, based on capitalism.

With Keri Russell's medical knowledge and the power of anti-biotics, saving Caesar's mate, we see the marvelous benefits medical knowledge has brought. No one has nay doubt about this in the movie or now with us. Capitalism brings many benefits. 

It is the Trojan Horse.

It also brings weapons and the military and war. And never have I seen this so clearly imaged, so simple to see, in a movie before. I know it from reading Zizek of course, but to see it concretely is thrilling for me. 
Power/Knowledge is a relation
The two cannot be separated and each needs the other.Because it is a relation you cannot reify it, nounize it, give, take, trade, etc whatever. It seeps through the interstices of the Foucauldian Grid and is irreversible. It is a relation that metastasizes.

This is what makes it so difficult to challenge the ideology of capitalism.

And this is what we see happening in the movie. Caesar cannot resist. Humans have taught apes sign language - which they use with subtitles throughout the film - and words are a gift without compare for him.
Koba who has learned signing from other apes after being released from the torture of experimentation, distrusts them all.
He mistakes humans for The system of power/knowledge that has not yet intersected with capitalism in the movie.

The system will grow stronger as power/knowledge feed each other. Humans will grow stronger and then the apes will lose, -  just as the Native Americans did -  so they must war now. Humans will want more and more and more. The power/knowledge relation will be cumulative, progressive, linear, unending. And isn't this what we are living today. It cannot be fixed although most people still think it can. We can slow it, have revolutions that then incorporate the revolt making it stronger. This is the meaning of Snowpiercer.
This is what unemployednegativity describes in his review of  Bong Joon-ho's

What Unemployed Negativity says is that no one inside the train can imagine life outside the train in the ice-age out there. And we in our world now cannot imagine our way out of it. Only one person on the train knows about snow.

None of the humans in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes can imagine a different way of life than the one they used to know.They cannot create a different world.As one character says, "They are stronger than us because they don't need power."

So they will go to war for the ideology of the capitalism they used to know when it had intersected with power/knowledge/capital in the Foucauldian Grid.

This is the ZIZEKIAN INVISIBLE REAL, the system Koba only senses, displacing his feelings and awareness on the humans themselves. And this is what we ourselves are also doing. We cannot see the Invisible Real because it is invisible. The humans cannot see it and the apes cannot see it and this invisibility is what drives war through history. Our differences with the Middle East are the same as they were with the Native Americans. Our way of life will devour all before it including ourselves. And the toys of capitalism are so fun, we want to keep them to play with.Just as those on the train with privilege enjoy them.

It will be Caesar that understands there are differences in humans as well as apes, that neither can be stereotyped. But this reasoning will do him no good.As Simon Critchley has lectured at GCAS, in times of heightened violence, reason is useless, which he traces from classical times. An important concept to understand.

When violence is aroused, reason disappears, dissolves, gets trampled on, is of no use whatsoever. (Think going to war with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that weren't there, if they ever were.)Malcolm and Caesar cannot influence the mobs on either side.Violence will triumph.

As long as we see our differences in terms of us and them, we will have war.This is binary thinking. We must change the way we think. Only then will we be able to see all the different kinds of snow because then we will have the language that allows us to think differently, perceive differently, and talk differently with each other.

This is what Benjamin Lee Whorf and Edward Sapir were after.

Moving to Slavoj Zizek's reading in his The Year of Living Dangerously (p.101) He refers to Jameson's  reading of The Wire:

The Wire is a whodunit in which the culprit is the social totality, the whole system, not an individual criminal (or group of criminals). But how are we to represent (or, rather, render) in art the totality of contemporary capitalism? In other words, is not totality always the ultimate culprit? What is so specific about contemporary tragedy? The point is that the Real of the capitalist system is abstract, the abstract virtual movement of Capital - here we should mobilize the Lacanian difference between reality and the Real: reality masks the Real
I think this is at the core of the wild pouring of emotion over the dolphin slaughter at Taiji Cove in Japan. The reality of it is so excessive, so much horror for us to watch, that the Lacanian REAL is masked. The REAL is Capitalism which abstractly demands Taiji Cove exist. 
Murder of Dolphins in Taiji Cove
We cannot see the Real because we are so emotionally wrought by reality. In this way it is not addressed, nor confronted.
stealth poison pill

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