Fascist Affect in 300

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  • 1 Calvin College cplantin@calvin.edu
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Abstract

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

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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