Against Cinema—Guy Debord Retrospective

Co-presented by: L’Institut Franco-Japonais de Tokyo

The endeavors of French philosopher and filmmaker Guy Debord (1931–94)—who together with comrades organized l’Internationale situationniste (IS), and led from the late 50s to the early 70s a movement critical of economic, political and cultural institutionalization—have added significance today as criticism of a world that becomes ever more spectacular. His book The Society of the Spectacle (1967), which is said to have anticipated May 1968, not only influenced contemporary student and labor movements, but retains its potency as criticism against the very system that controls everyday life through image.

This first retrospective of Debord’s work in Japan presents his six films in an attempt to recapture his boundary-crossing activities that negated preconceived frameworks like literature and fine art. Perhaps he ushered in the death of cinema? His critical gaze examines the image as organized and institutionalized in capitalist society, posing questions in diverse fields encompassing politics, architecture, fine art and copyright law.

Venue: Yamagata Citizens’ Hall (Small Hall)


Howls for Sade 1952 / Video (Orig. 35mm) / 75 min
On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time 1959 / 35mm / 18 min

Oct. 10


Critique of Separation 1961 / 35mm / 19 min
The Society of the Spectacle 1973 / 35mm / 80 min

Oct. 11


Refutation of All Judgments, Whether in Praise or Hostile, Thus Far Rendered on the Film “The Society of the Spectacle” 1975 / 35mm / 22 min
In girum imus nocte et consummur igni (We Spin Around the Night Consumed by the Fire) 1978 / 35mm / 105 min

Oct. 12