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Cinema of CrisisFilm and Contemporary Europe$
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Thomas Austin and Angelos Koutsourakis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474448505

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474448505.001.0001

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Labour and Exploitation by Displacement in Recent European Film

Labour and Exploitation by Displacement in Recent European Film

(p.244) 15. Labour and Exploitation by Displacement in Recent European Film
Cinema of Crisis

Constantin Parvulescu

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter analyses the presentation of labour at the geographical and social margins of Europe in four recent European films. It offers a commentary on the way these films invite viewers to reflect on practices of labour displacement, the opportunities for exploitation this displacement generates and, more generally, on the violence generated by what Marx calls the ‘silent compulsion of economic relations’ (1990: 899). Under scrutiny are cinematic texts made in the post-2008 era. As such, they even more acutely record the increasingly competitive and oppressive post-crisis work environment, as well as a growing scepticism among Europeans regarding the capitalist free market. While Mediterranea’s observational (realist) drama is the predictable format for such recording, I have also chosen films that surpass this framework of representation. Capital is a financial thriller with a touch of black humour, Toni Erdmann a comedy-drama, and Moon is a science fiction film. In the first part of this chapter, I discuss Mediterranea and Moon and their inquiry into the condition of capitalism’s underdogs. The second part analyses Toni Erdmann and Capital, and reflects on the condition of the apparent winners in capitalist displacement processes.

Keywords:   Capitalism, Exploitation, Realism, Humour, David Harvey

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