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Do American Films (even "Fahrenheit 9/11") Reinforce the Establishment?

by Anthony Kaufman
July 18, 2011 12:41 PM
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Okay, so it's not news to me, but it might be for those who don't see the reactionary politics of the majority of films that come out of Hollywood.

According to a new book "American Politics in Hollywood," by Ian Scott from The University of Manchester, Hollywood films are "at heart patriotic and reinforce establishment principles and values," according to a press release.

British films, on the other hand, argues Scott, are rarely subject to the same commercial pressures as Hollywood, resulting in a gritty realism that is more likely to question the role of authority. (See Ken Loach, In the Loop, Traffik)

“Political movies are extremely influential in culture, generally tackling controversial subjects like the Kennedy shooting in 'JFK' or the Munich Olympics disaster in Spielberg’s 'Munich,' or the aftermath of 9/11 in Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11,'" he said. “But not in the way you might think: rather than being an expose of a corrupt system, they actually almost always underscore that system."

“You can’t lump all political movies together," he added. "But though achieved by alternate methods, the net result is usually the same: an endorsement of the values, beliefs and identity that has been so important to the United States throughout its history."

But here's the kicker: Scott argues even "anti-establishment" films such as "Fahrenheit 9/11" go with the status quo: “Indeed the makers of films like 'The Manchurian Candidate,' 'All the Presidents Men' and 'Fahrenheit 9/11' will wear establishment criticism as a badge of honor even when in reality, these remarkable and hard-hitting pictures actually reinforce the establishment.”

Do I buy it? Not sure. I guess I'll have to get the book.

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