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Easy: Matewan, by John Sayles, 1987.

"Easy: Matewan, by John Sayles, 1987."

Good call! Sayles also wrote the screenplay for Eight Men Out... I'm noticing a theme here.

Dude, "Communism" is banned in North Korea, don't people get that? It was a scam in the first place and worked to rise the populace.

I guess we should rule out the obvious ones, like Wall Street (and its upcoming sequal - filmed over at RBC I heard), Platoon, or Reds, which have explicitly anti-capitalist (or anti-American) or pro-communist themes.

With a little editing, I could see Kim Jong-il liking the Star Wars movies, with North Korean playing the role of the rebellion and the US as the Empire (as a corrupt and greedy Republic turned Empire seeking to control the Galaxy). In this repurposed movie, the Jedi would be pseudo-bolsheviks fighting to establish equality and justice in the galaxy (or whatever it is the North Koreans value) They wouldn't want to show the prequels, which establish the Jedi to be the guardians of the old order - but, hey, even Kim Jung-Il wouldn't be so cruel as to subject North Korean audiences to those abominations (they've surely suffered enough). Presumably it wouldn't be hard for wily North Koreans to paint a few stars and stripes on the death star or a few tie fighters.

Avatar was interpreted by many as anti-capitalist. It struck me more as anti-technology.

Anything by Oliver Stone.

John Sayles is not inadvertent.

Robin Hood?

Wall-E seems fairly anti-capitalist.

Robin Hood as long as it's not the dreadful Kevin Costner version.

Pretty much any movie about corporate malfeasance will do; Erin Brockovich, Michael Clayton, Silkwood (maybe even The China Syndrome.)

My wife suggests Norma Rae.

You could probably make a great case for The Devil Wears Prada or Glengarry, Glen Ross.

Grapes of Wrath
Aliens (actually, pretty much any of that series)

L.A. Confidential, as well.

* Oliver!

* The Great Dictator

* Dr Strangelove: OHILTSWALTB

* The Matrix

* The Matrix Revolutions

* The Corporation, surely (you didn't say fiction!)?

* Good Night and Good Luck

* The War of the Worlds (minus the ending)

Not sure though if KJI would approve though.

Oh, and:

* Sex and the City 2

I bet there's a really good one we haven't thought of yet.

This seems to be a relevant list:


I hope it's obvious why I chose the films I did.

Network, although the Communists don't come out too well in that one either.

Simon, Good call on Aliens. It's subtle, but it's there.

Uh, Communism in the West is very different from Communism in North Korea. A movie endorsed by the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada would not necessarily be endorsed by Kim Jong-Il.

Also, anti-capitalist is not the same as communist. If we bring in the vague social democratic anti-capitalist sentiments in Canada, then this discussion becomes even more absurd.

Come on Leo, don't be so serious, it's a joke discussion in the first place. Enjoy it.

If you're after Canadian content (and with due apologies to Leo Petr), how about
- The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
- The Trotsky

Another movie we've all overlooked is "Sicko".

Anyone seen "The Mototcycle Diaries"?

I also have my doubts about whether "Oliver!" could be shown in N. Korea. Think about it: hungry child dares to ask for more and is punished. Showing it could be like smoking in the powder magazine.

Redford's "the Milagro Beanfield War"

If we're including documentaries, I'd mention 'End of the Line', too. It's more an indictment of human nature than capitalism, though.

Other People's Money

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - for popularising the line "The need of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one."

Actually, Star Trek as a whole is full-on commie: the Federation has no currency, or seemingly corporations (everything appears to be done by Starfleet, aka Govt).

Aliens actually seems not so much anti-Capitalist as some sort of anti-Corporate-Fascism. Government doesn't really seem to exist, everything is run by 'the company'. Compare them to, I don't know, say BP? Halliburton?


Ok, I've got a good one: The first two Star Wars prequels.

Let's see, the antagonists are members of the Trade Federation, which represents business interests. The Trade Federation rises up in a corporatist revolt against the Galactic Republic because of government restrictions on trade/business. The Galactic Republic is run by all of the peoples of the galaxy together. The Trade Federation's army consists of robots, because capitalists aren't willing to actually fight. The heroes are the Jedi, who are intellectual warriors who valiantly support the rightful government against selfish opponents. The Jedi are about as communist as you can get.


I confess that I that can't tell the difference between communist and anti-corporate-Fascism.
Do you have an example of a pro-corporate-Fascism communist that I could try to keep in mind?


See, it's hard to see the Jedi as communist heroes once you've seen the first two Star Wars prequels. They're an elite group of religious warriors who are granted their power and privilege by virtue of their genetic inheritance. In the prequel they're arguably a conservative element in the Star War's universe working to preserve the traditional bourgeois values of the republic which, whatever they may be, are hardly communist. And that backstory taints the revolutionary nature of the rebellion. In that context, the rebellion isn't a revolutionary movement trying to overthrow the empire, but a bourgeois movement seeking to restore the decidedly bourgeois republic.

Now, in the original movies, without that back story, I could see Luke or Obi Wan as communist heroes (as a pseudo-Bolshevik vanguard of the revolution, with Obi Wan as Lenin and Luke as Stalin, or for North Korean audiences, Kim Il-Sung as Lenin and King Jung-Il as Stalin). Without the backstory for from the prequels, you can try to sell the rebellion as a pseudo-revolutionary uprising against the evil empire (i.e., the US). Perfect for North Korean audiences.

Ah, a Trotskyist critique of the Jedi.

"I confess that I that can't tell the difference between communist and anti-corporate-Fascism.
Do you have an example of a pro-corporate-Fascism communist that I could try to keep in mind?"

False dichotomy. It's possible to be both anti-corporate-fascism, and anti-communist. Most of the political spectrum in Western countries fit this mould.


Animal Farm

The Yes Men films ;)


"See, it's hard to see the Jedi as communist heroes once you've seen the first two Star Wars prequels. They're an elite group of religious warriors who are granted their power and privilege by virtue of their genetic inheritance."

I disagree. The prequels (at least the first two) are precisely where I see the possibility for communist allegory. Did you read my post? The Jedi could be compared to either a Bolshevik revolutionary class or as comparable to athletes raised from birth to represent China or some other Communist country. The Jedi lack material wealth and eschew most ownership and personal desires for the sake of the community. The Galactic Republic could easily be seen as less bourgeois than the Separatists, who literally represent business interests.

We need to imagine that the audience is a nation like China, where the society is supposedly communist, but things are much more mixed in reality. In such an environment, the Galactic Republic, with its advocacy of business restrictions, could easily be seen as representative of the "people's" government. The separatists could be seen as representative of Taiwan, with its freer economy and desire for independence. The analogue for the clone army hardly needs to be explained.

Propaganda isn't about facts fitting together perfectly. It's about images matching well enough to make people make the proper associations and I think Episodes I and II could do that for Chinese communism.

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