Do You Like the Real Totalitarianism? Check Out the Allegoric One: Kynodontas and Rollerball (1975)

On July 16th, 1918, the Russian Imperial Romanov family was executed, during the Russian Civil War which concluded with the inauguration of the first major Communist experiment as a tryout for the worldwide communism takeover that started in 2020. On this special occasion, I would like to share with you two movie recommendations of parables for totalitarianism.

Kynodontas

One of the most staggering parables I have seen in a while. Nominated for the Oscar at the Foreign film category in 2011, the greek production Kynodontas has received the award Un certain Regard (Cannes, 2009); The Best Director award at the Dublin International Film Festival (2010), at Montréal Festival of New Cinema (2009), the Special Jury Prize at the Sarajevo Film Festival (2009) and the Bronze Horse at the Stockholm Film Festival (2009).

The premises are quite innovative. This is a film like you haven’t seen many. The head of a family conspires with his wife to keep their kids inside their garden, never leaving… the premises. They have never been outside their place. They don’t know anything about the foreign world, but only through the mediation of their father. All the things which he says are considered true.

A fierce satire on totalitarianism, I would even consider a good metaphor for the current American society. The film never makes clear whether there is a character study to the story, an exploration of the absurd, or a parable. The structure makes sense as either of them.

I don’t know if you will like it or not, but certainly, it will shock you. Understand it and wonder about its subtleness. And share it! Watch it with friends who like to talk afterward. After a few minutes of silence, you will start to get a new grip on a lot of realities. Chill down. It’s only a story. The reality is much scarier. It’s only that we have learned to look aside.

My rating: 7 / 10 (great film)

Rollerball (1975)

This blogger also remembers the Pro Cinema published top of best SF in the last century. Rollerball, although less known, is one well-worthy of being on the list. It is considered one of the best dystopian movies and you will find it on fans’ lists across the internet.

The action takes place in a not-so-distant future, where the nations have disappeared and the world is run by a giant supercorporation, which directs the life of everyone, surveilling everybody. The masses are entertained through a violent game, played as a sport, called “Rollerball”, which has the purpose of discouraging any particular individual’s initiative.

James Caan, a great American actor, plays the role of Jonathan, an expert player in rollerball who has become more famous than the game. At this point, the corporation asks him to step down. Jonathan starts asking questions, which is always a dangerous game in the world depicted by the screenplay and will end up costing him almost everything in his quest for bringing the corporation down.

Another classic story, about how one man fights the system as a hero, the savior who brings freedom, which everybody waited. Some say that’s dangerous, but looking at Karl Popper’s morphology of the fairytale, it plain universal story-telling basics.

A great masterpiece, it is a great film worth seeing to understand some mechanisms of manipulation, which are already starting of being used. Present days are much more similar to the screen than 36 years ago when the film was directed by the great American producer Norman Jewison.

My rating: 8 / 10 (Masterpiece)

Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright text © Marcus Victor Grant 2011-present. Updated for publishing in 2021. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved.

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.

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