Occupy the Silver Screen? 10 Films to Get You Ready to Occupy Wall Street
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The spirit of Occupy Wall Street is contagious, and may soon have its first large-scale appearance in pop culture: Christopher Nolan is filming The Dark Knight Rises, the third film in the Batman trilogy, in New York beginning October 29, and there is a rumor they'll be shooting down at Zuccotti Park. LA Times:
But using a real-life location like the Occupy Wall Street protests — particularly in the city nicknamed Gotham — would add an element of gritty authenticity to 'Rises." It also would fit with the franchise's preoccupation with themes of urban order and civil unrest, which "Dark Knight" explored at length.
It’s unclear how protesters would react if cameras for “The Dark Knight Rises” were nearby. A former independent-film director, Nolan wouldn’t seem to have much in common with Wall Street fat cats. But he is overseeing a $250-million production financed by one of the world's largest media conglomerates.
On the other hand, some demonstrators may find that the film accords with their mission. The casting call says that characters will inhabit "a city besieged by crime and corruption." That’s almost like a description you’d read on a, well, Occupy Wall Streeter's protest sign.
The financial crisis has already emerged as inspiration for films; with OWS potentially making it to the silver screen as early as 2012, what other movies may have predicted the movement's longevity and force? Here are 10 that have either direct or indirect influence on the current peoples' movement.
Okay, this one's a little cheater: I haven't seen it yet (it came out Friday). But by all accounts, the new film starring Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci and Demi Moore is uncanny in its release date. It is set at a large investment bank during the first 24 hours of a meltdown, very early in the financial crisis, when said bank realizes that its assets have about the same worth as the plastic dollar bills yuppies hand out to their toddlers. It is said to be morally ambiguous as a piece of art—while the deeds and realizations are of evil, apparently the character development brings in humanity you're not likely feeling for anybody in a Wall Street penthouse right now. But nuance is the best way to fully understand something, and ambiguity is, after all, the very reason Occupy Wall Street has thrived across so many types of people with so many different demands. I'll refrain from elaborating until I've gone to check it out, but suffice to say New York magazine's David Edelstein introduced his review of Margin Call with the kicker, "Movie night at Zuccotti Park!"
2. V for Vendetta
The Guy Fawkes masks adopted by members of hacker group Anonymous, and which populate the OWS protests, originate from V for Vendetta, a dystopian fantasy directed by James McTeigue, who had a hand in The Matrix as assistant director. Pedigree aside, V for Vendetta is widely considered to be a bad movie, but as eye candy and visual inspiration to protest goes, it's top-notch. (For a better go at the storyline, turn to the original comic by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, upon which the movie was based.) Besides, the concept is awesome: a Fawkes mask-wearing freedom fighter and an employee at a state broadcasting station unite against a fascist state that has taken over Great Britain, urging its citizens to rise up together on the fifth of November—the day the real Fawkes was foiled trying to blow up Westminster Palace in 1605. Despite being a horrible future dictatorship, though, Vendetta's Britain has a lot in common with our own situation, and imagines what life would be like if humanity's worst prejudices were taken to their worst logical ends. A comedian is executed for owning a copy of the Koran; a cure for a deadly virus is tested on political dissidents. It's just close enough to home to inspire preemptive protesting, before it gets that bad.