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La Société du spectacle
Directed by Guy Debord
Written by Guy Debord
Release date(s) 1973
Running time 90 min.
Country France

La Société du spectacle (Society of the Spectacle) is a 1973 film by Situationist Guy Debord based on his 1967 book of the same title. It was Debord’s first feature-length film.

The 90 minute film took a year to make and incorporates footage from The Battleship Potemkin, October, Chapaev, The New Babylon, Shanghai Gesture, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Rio Grande, They Died With Their Boots On, Johnny Guitar, and Mr. Arkadin, as well as other Soviet films, industrial films, news footage, advertisements, many still photographs, and footage of semi-naked women.[1] Events such as the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald (who assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963), the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1938, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the Paris riots in May 1968 are represented, and people such as Mao Zedong, Richard Nixon, and the Spanish Anarchist Durruti. Throughout the movie, there is both a voiceover (of Debord) and inter-titles from "Society of the Spectacle" but also texts from the Committee of Occupation of the Sorbonne, Machiavelli, Marx, Tocqueville, Emile Pouget, and Soloviev. Without citations, these quotes are hard to decipher, especially with the subtitles (which exist even in the French version) but that is part of Debord’s goal “to problematize reception” (Greil and Sanborn) and force the viewer to be active.

In 1984, Debord withdrew his films from circulation because of the negative press and the assassination of his friend and patron Gerard Lebovici. Since Debord’s suicide in 1994, Debord’s wife Alice Becker-Ho has been promoting Debord’s film. A DVD box set titled Guy Debord: Oeuvres cinématographiques complètes came out in 2005 and contains Debord’s seven films.


  1. ^ The pussies of Guy Debord, selected excerpts from the film


  • Marcus, Greil and Sanborn, “On the films of Guy Debord”, Keith; Feature; Artforum; February 2006
  • Bracken, Len; Guy Debord: Revolutionary; Feral House; 1997; California
  • Knabb, Ken; Guy Debord’s Complete Cinematic Works; AK Press; 1978; Canada
  • Marshall, Peter; Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism; Fontana Press; 1992; London
  • Lasn, Kalle; Culture Jam: How to Reverse America’s Suicidal Consumer Binge- And Why We Must; Quill; 1999; New York

External links



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