Duck And Cover Film Analysis

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In question one, we explored how the film Duck and Cover utilized various concepts of propaganda design, as identified by Jacques Ellul, to inform children of the dangers of atomic bombs and how to be safe. The following analysis takes these concepts further by evaluating the work of Susan Sontag in her 1975 New York Book review “Fascinating Fascism”, an article on the work of Leni Riefenstahl, an infamous Nazi filmmaker and member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle (Sontag, 1975). Sontag posits that Riefenstahl’s work for the Nazi party, starting in the 1930’s, demonstrates a true representation of what Sontag calls the “fascist aesthetic”. Riefenstahl’s work concentrated on the power of the propagandist elements of imagery and control to further…show more content…
The film chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters and according to Sontag was designed for the convenience of the cameras where reality has been reconstructed to fit the fascist message (Sontag, 1975). The beauty and symmetry of the marching torch parade and the precision of the organized event provide a psychological spectacle that Ellul states are essential to the success of propaganda. Ellul (1957) states that “propaganda employs psychological methods of influencing; attempts to predetermine a decision” (p. 66). The use of visuals and symbolism of the torches, swastikas, and uniforms creates emotion for the observer and removes the normalcy of everyday object identification to subjective interpretation, a desire to participate in the beauty of the spectacle. Triumph of the Will, use of mystic symbols, torches, pageantry, and uniforms creates the fascist aesthetic as perfection in the propagandist art (PowerPoint, week…show more content…
Olympiad's opening with Wagnerian score of composer Herbert Windt is placed over visuals of ancient Greek monuments and fades into nude German decathlete Erwin Huber recreating the discus-throwing pose. The film's focus on "perfect" bodies is an example of its distinctly fascist aesthetic, the camera's fascination with the athletic body cannot be viewed as anything other than the superiority of the Teutonic athlete. This view perpetuates the idea of the myth, the perfect man, the perfect race and the importance of the use of myth according to Ellul (1957), where people will “spontaneously” choose the myth and refuse to acknowledge any form of reality (p.66). Sontag (1975), demonstrates that Riefenstahl’s focus on human beauty, perfection and focus on the purity of the mystic continue from Olympiad to her current project The last of the Nuba. Riefenstahl refers to the Nuba as a mystic people and notes that they have an “athletic build rare in any other African tribe”
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