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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathDebord

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vehicles for détournement such as posters, records, radio broadcasts, and comic strips, none lends itself better than cinema: «It is obviously in the framework of the cinema that détournement can attain its greatest efficacity, and undoubtedly, for those concerned with this aspect, its greatest beauty.» [21] As will become evident below, such détournement can take a number of forms. On the one hand, in he double movement of this «powerful cultural weapon» the context and meaning of both insignificant phenomena (newspaper clippings, advertisements, quotidian phrases) and significant elements (citations from Marx or Saint-Just, a sequence from an Eisenstein film) can be displaced and estranged before being subsequently reinscribed and transformed through radical juxtaposition.

On the other hand, entire films can be «detourned»: Debord and Wolman propose «Birth of a Nation,» for example, because of its combination of formal innovations unprecedented in the history of cinema with a racist plot that is utterly intolerable. Rather than censoring it, they suggest, it would be better to detourn it as a whole, without necessarily even altering the montage, by adding a sound track


that made a powerful denunciation of the horrors of imperialist war and of the activities of the Ku Klux Klan than, they point out, continue in the United States to this very day. [22] Détournement could also be used, they go on to say, for the filmic rewriting of history and in order to illustrate theoretical claims. [23] In an early text there is also an amusing suggestion as to how one can recuperate hopelessly commercial films through the use of détournement as a mode of spectatorship. At one point during the itinerary of a derive, one should stop into a movie theatre for slightly less than an hour and interpret the currently playing adventure film as follows: «[…] let the heros be some more or less historical people who are close to us, connect the events the inept scenario to the real reasons which we understand are behind the actions, and connect them also to the events of the current week. Here you have an acceptable collective distraction[…]» [24]

6. Filmic Practice

Besides détournement, however, there are a number of other arguments for the importance of the cinema

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