Fascist Affect in 300

in Projections
Carl Plantinga Calvin College cplantin@calvin.edu

Search for other papers by Carl Plantinga in
Current site
Google Scholar
Restricted access


The stories we tell each other, or present via mass media, are important components of the cultural ecology of a place and time. This article argues that 300 (2007), directed by Zach Snyder and based on a comic book series both written and illustrated by Frank Miller, evinces what can legitimately be called a “fascist aesthetic” that depends in large part on the moods and emotions the screen story both represents and elicits. While many other commentators have charged this film with incipient fascism, this article both deepens and expands on the claim by showing how the film's elicitation of affect contributes to this aesthetic. The article argues that the affects represented and elicited in 300, when taken in conjunction with and in relation to the ideology they support, constitute what can be called “fascist affect.”

Contributor Notes

Carl Plantinga is Professor of Film and Media at Calvin College. The most recent of his three monographs is Screen Stories: Emotion and the Ethics of Engagement (Oxford University Press, 2018). He also wrote Moving Viewers: American Film and the Spectator's Experience (2009) and coedited Passionate Views: Film, Cognition, and Emotion (1999). Email: cplantin@calvin.edu

  • Collapse
  • Expand


The Journal for Movies and Mind

  • Antliff, Mark. 1998. “Aestheticized Politics.” In Encyclopedia of Aesthetics Vol. 4, ed. Michael Kelly, 2629. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Breihan, Tom. 2017. “Zack Snyder's 300 Presaged the Howling Fascism of the Alt-Right.” AV/Film, August 11, 2017. https://film.avclub.com/zack-snyder-s-300-presaged-the-howling-fascism-of-the-a-1798265082.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carroll, Noël. 2003. “Art and Mood: Preliminary Notes and Conjectures.” The Monist 86 (4): 521555. doi.org/10.5840/monist200386426.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Daly, Steve. 2007. “Double-Edged Sword: How 300 Was Positioned To Be a Box Office Hit.” Entertainment Weekly, March 11, 2017. http://ew.com/article/2007/03/11/how-300-was-positioned-be-box-office-hit/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Epstein, Daniel Robert. 2005. “Exclusive Interview with Tyler Bates, Score Composer for The Devil's Rejects.” UGO Entertainment, July 16, 2005. http://www.gerardbutler.net/news/Print.php?NewsID=1112.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harari, Yuval Noah. 2011. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. London: Penguin.

  • Hayes, Paul M. 1973. Fascism. New York: Free Press.

  • Laquer, Walter. 1996. Fascism: Past, Present, Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Payne, Stanley G. 1980. Fascism: Comparison and Definition. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

  • Plantinga, Carl. 2009. Moving Viewers: American Film and the Spectator's Experience. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Plantinga, Carl. 2018. Screen Stories: Emotion and the Ethics of Engagement. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Sinnerbrink, Robert. 2012. “Stimmung: Exploring the Aesthetics of Mood.” Screen 53 (2): 148163. doi:10.1093/screen/hjs007.

  • Smith, Greg M. 2003. Film Structure and the Emotion System. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Smith, Kyle. 2007. “Persian Shrug.” New York Post, March 9, 2007. https://nypost.com/2007/03/09/persian-shrug/.

  • Sontag, Susan. 1981. Under the Sign of Saturn. New York: Vintage Books.

  • Stevens, Dana. 2008. “A Movie Only a Spartan Could Love.” Slate, March 8, 2007. http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/movies/2007/03/a_movie_only_a_spartan_could_love.html.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1463 769 61
Full Text Views 2635 8 2
PDF Downloads 2210 10 2