Representing the economy and neoliberal subjectivity in Le capital (2012)
in The films of Costa-Gavras
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Le Capital (2012), based on Stéphane Osmont’s 2004 novel, returns to Costa-Gavras’s problem of representing economic structures and determinants, while also repeatedly featuring thriller set-ups. However, it eschews the kinds of nail-biting perils one might expect of a corporate/financial thriller – for example, Syriana (Gaghan 2005) or The International (Tykwer 2009) – and its conspiracy turns out to be merely the mundane, everyday machinations of finance capital. At the same time, the film rejects the tendency of ‘crunch lit’ – semi-autobiographical and fully fictional narratives about the 2007–8 global financial crash – to humanise financial players. It does so not to demonise them but in order to foreground the subjectivity produced by neoliberalism. Although Le Capital’s denial of ‘constant excitation’ hardly constitutes the ‘dialectical distanciation’, it nonetheless plays a part in Costa-Gavras’s oblique solution to the problem of representing the economy.

Editor: Homer B. Pettey

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