films: was foucauldians

On Sat, 17 Jan 1998, IR. Douglas wrote:
>> >
I'm running a seminar series on biopower in general and one of these
sessions is concerned with Foucault's investigations of
'politzeiwissenchaft' (the 'Wohlfahrt' state:
Along with each theme I want to show an appropriate film. I have films
for the sessions on madness, delinquency, medicine, militarism etc., but I
cannot think of one which would best represent the type of state that
Foucault had in mind when he talked about the rise of biopower: the type
>> of state that attempts not to limit or suppress life, but facilitate it.

In my opinion the closest thing to foucault (specifically Discipline and
Punish) on film - or rather television - is the Patrick MacGoohan series
_The Prisoner_. This series shows a prisoner in a luxurious resort like
setting where everybody is exorted to be happy and content - the whole
effort of corercion is to get him to think in a conformist manner - to
'confess' so that he will fit in and be properly categorised. For me this
series is pure Foucault - if you haven't seen it (it is readily available
on video) it is well worth it. There are also tons of sites on the web
devoted to this series and discussing its implications. A series like _Max
Headroom_ is also interesting -in this series the trend is more towards
corporate than state control. The emphasis in both these series is not
about military control but governmental control.

>movies out there that take seriously what people go through in Boot Camp?
>There are some places where conditioning of human beings is
>well-understood and pursued with enthusiasm.

I saw an excellent documentary on the training of British paratroopers
which showed exactly how it happens - a very interesting film. I can't
remember what it was called unfortuantely! A number of Japanese samurai
films take up the same issue of social conditioning and conformity for
example a film called _Rebellion_ Sorry this is all a bit vague.


Clare O'Farrell
web page:

Partial thread listing: