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snowball 02-06-2018 09:55 PM

How to show rise of fascism in this shot?
In my script for a short film, I'm trying to show the rise of fascist, overtly nationalistic powers. The shot is a frontal tracking shot of the main character walking through the street, kind of like how we see Valuska walking in Werckmeister Harmonies.

How to portray rise of fascism in this shot? I would be thankful if you suggest some ideas. Here is what I was thinking:

He walks. Drum beats can be heard in rhythm, approaching him and the volume getting louder as he moves closer to the location from where the sound of the drums is coming. A fiery speech containing fascist vocabulary and notions can be heard.

The problem with this is, it is not subtle at all. I want to have a subtle portrayal of a fascist power rising, possibly without having to use actual fascist words.

El Director 02-06-2018 10:15 PM

Tough one. Part of me says that it's not your job to convey that as a screenwriter. It's up to the director how something like that will be shown. On the other hand, being that descriptive and specific would say that this is material that means a lot to you. I would suggest writing it as you see fit and then finding a director you can collaborate with who is totally on board with your vision. If that director is you, you already know what you want, so write it however it will help you to create it.

snowball 02-06-2018 10:24 PM

Well, yes, I am writing this script to direct it myself and cannot come up with a more subtle (if the one I've mentioned can be called 'subtle' at all) scenario. The problem is the subtlety, rather, the lack of it. If I use a fiery fascistic speech in the background, it necessarily shows what I intend to show: Fascism is rising. The protagonist, however, is indifferent to this. He keeps walking.

But, using a speech specifically means employing a bunch of words to portray the sense of fascism is somewhat claustrophobic. It is not a natural impulse if I have to tell the audience specifically that this is fascism rising.

Take the example of Werckmeister Harmonies. This is my favorite film. We see the rise of a cult, a riot, a sense of dystopia - nothing of which is told categorically. Yet, the sense gets portrayed.

mussonman 02-07-2018 12:06 AM

Fascism certainly isn't subtle

WalterB 02-07-2018 05:28 AM


Originally Posted by mussonman (Post 433733)
Fascism certainly isn't subtle

But the movement towards it often is at first.

Without context it is hard to say whether or not it can be done in 1 shot.
And if you want to show it without the vocabulary, you need to think about showing the results of it:
freedom taken away, the rise of fear, dehumanizing the scapegoat, violence instead of justice. These things often sneak into a fascist society first. Then the personal cultus and the visual style which were both often already there can come out of the shadows into the mainstream to show your conclusion.
And those results depend on your script.

If it was Nazi Germany in the 30s:
people closing curtains in fear.
people walking fast.
People leaving hastely with suitcases.
buildings with 'Jüde' painted on the wall. A stone thrown through the window.
a gang of SA crooks beating up someone and police not interfering.
A shop being plundered and stuff being burned.
Nazi banners being hang on government buildings
arriving in a mob of people with streched arms saluting a Nazi parade.

It would take quite a long shot/street to do this.

snowball 02-07-2018 11:28 AM

Thanks for all your inputs, people. My scenario is kind of like this: fascist mentality is rising, however, the protagonist conveniently ignores it - remains indifferent to it, seems absorbed in his own claustrophobic life.

The whole thing is stuck because of that particular scene.

Blade_Jones 02-07-2018 02:18 PM

Well here in America you would just show Democrats having their temper tantrums over Hillary Clinton's defeat. Their tired protests are nauseating.

MinutemenPro 02-07-2018 02:34 PM

A little extreme, but very visual.

indietalk 02-07-2018 03:06 PM

How about walking down the street in an area where propaganda is posted, like a long walled area, as he walks, the posters go from old, faded, and worn democratic posters, to new and crisp fascist posters, and in between you see the transition of the old being plastered over with the new.

mussonman 02-07-2018 03:43 PM

I was just about to suggest what Indietalk suggested

indietalk 02-07-2018 03:51 PM

great minds...

Feutus Lapdance 02-07-2018 04:12 PM

Show people that fear the person because of his skin color.

WalterB 02-07-2018 04:14 PM

I suppose the OP also researched fascism?
Umberto Eco wrote an essay on it (great writer btw: Foucault Pendulum is a brilliant masterpiece, and The Name of the Rose: I still have to read it, still trying to 'forget' the great movie with Sean Connery, so I can be surprised again.)

Here is a list that shows a few elements of the transition to fascism:

- "The Cult of Tradition", characterized by cultural syncretism, even at the risk of internal contradiction. When all truth has already been revealed by Tradition, no new learning can occur, only further interpretation and refinement.
- "The Rejection of modernism", which views the rationalistic development of Western culture since the Enlightenment as a descent into depravity. Eco distinguishes this from a rejection of superficial technological advancement, as many fascist regimes cite their industrial potency as proof of the vitality of their system.
- "The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
- "Disagreement Is Treason" – Fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action, as well as out of fear that such analysis will expose the contradictions embodied in a syncretistic faith.
- "Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
- "Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
- "Obsession with a Plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often combines an appeal to xenophobia with a fear of disloyalty and sabotage from marginalized groups living within the society (such as the German elite's 'fear' of the 1930s Jewish populace's businesses and well-doings; see also anti-Semitism). Eco also cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
- Fascist societies rhetorically cast their enemies as "at the same time too strong and too weak." On the one hand, fascists play up the power of certain disfavored elites to encourage in their followers a sense of grievance and humiliation. On the other hand, fascist leaders point to the decadence of those elites as proof of their ultimate feebleness in the face of an overwhelming popular will.
- "Pacifism is Trafficking with the Enemy" because "Life is Permanent Warfare" – there must always be an enemy to fight. Both fascist Germany under Hitler and Italy under Mussolini worked first to organize and clean up their respective countries and then build the war machines that they later intended to and did use, despite Germany being under restrictions of the Versailles treaty to NOT build a military force. This principle leads to a fundamental contradiction within fascism: the incompatibility of ultimate triumph with perpetual war.
- "Contempt for the Weak", which is uncomfortably married to a chauvinistic popular elitism, in which every member of society is superior to outsiders by virtue of belonging to the in-group. Eco sees in these attitudes the root of a deep tension in the fundamentally hierarchical structure of fascist polities, as they encourage leaders to despise their underlings, up to the ultimate Leader who holds the whole country in contempt for having allowed him to overtake it by force.
- "Everybody is Educated to Become a Hero", which leads to the embrace of a cult of death. As Eco observes, "[t]he Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death."
- "Machismo", which sublimates the difficult work of permanent war and heroism into the sexual sphere. Fascists thus hold "both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality."
- "Selective Populism" – The People, conceived monolithically, have a Common Will, distinct from and superior to the viewpoint of any individual. As no mass of people can ever be truly unanimous, the Leader holds himself out as the interpreter of the popular will (though truly he dictates it). Fascists use this concept to delegitimize democratic institutions they accuse of "no longer represent[ing] the Voice of the People."
- "Newspeak" – Fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.

The question is: which of these concepts can you translate into 'show not tell'?

The posters with propaganda is indeed a great idea: it can show both a past and a present.


Originally Posted by Blade_Jones (Post 433760)
Well here in America you would just show Democrats having their temper tantrums over Hillary Clinton's defeat. Their tired protests are nauseating.

Eventhough the OP's question has to to with a political ideology, we try to leave politics out of IT, since it tends to disrupt discussing the craft of filmmaking.

Feutus Lapdance 02-07-2018 04:22 PM

Great research Walter. I recognize a lot of those elements in today's extreme right and the extreme Left political spheres. Interesting.

snowball 02-08-2018 01:52 AM

I am glad that I've come across this community. Thanks a lot. I would love to explore the opinion given by Indietalk.
Thanks Feutus Lapdance, WalterB, mussonman, MinutemenPro and Blade_Jones for your inputs. All of these have enriched me.

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