Dulltopia: On the Dystopian Impulses of Slow Cinema

Mark Bould in the Boston Review:

Dulltopia4Fredric Jameson’s essay in An American Utopia (2016) begins with the observation, “We have seen a marked diminution in the production of new utopias over the last decades (along with an overwhelming increase in all manner of conceivable dystopias, most of which look monotonously alike).” Jameson recognizes the profligacy with which capitalism, its eye always on the main chance, belches dystopias. At the same time, he regrets its dulling of human creativity and, thus, its homogenization of dystopia. Yearning for richness, he finds formulaic reiteration. Risk-averse publishers gamble millions on the tried-and-tested strategy of more of the (slightly re-jigged) same. As does Hollywood, albeit on greater orders of magnitude.

Nearly 300 pages further into the same book, Slavoj Žižek insists that the “dystopias that abound in recent blockbuster movies and novels (Elysium, The Hunger Games), although apparently leftist (presenting a postapocalyptic society of extreme class divisions), are unimaginative, monotonous, and also politically wrong.”

Where the Marxist locates monotony in the similarity between dystopias, the Lacanian implies that each individual example is tedious, hackneyed, and wrongheaded. I am not entirely convinced by either one.

More here.