Toward an Anarchist-Apocalypse Cinema Analysis

  • Dr. David Christopher University of Leicester


A spate of avant-garde apocalypse films emerged towards the end of the twentieth century in apparent response to the endless cycle of patriarchally conservative counterparts coming out of Hollywood at the time. In fact, such films as Geoff Murphy’s The Quiet Earth (1985, New Zealand), Don McKellar’s Last Night (1998, Canada), Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany), or Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer (2013, South Korea), to name only a few examples, stage a particularly anarchist-inflected set of apocalyptic themes. The recognition of this proclivity provides an opportunity to add a layer of understanding to film analysis that complements the dominant theoretical lenses through which scholars have understood these films and to explore the wider contexts of their cultural significance. Just as there is a distinct vein of apocalyptic critique that runs through an otherwise divergent history of anarchist theory, so too is there a noticeable vein of anarchism permeating the apocalyptic films I discuss. My project is to recover lost and/or displaced notions of the apocalypse and put them in the service of developing an anarcho-apocalyptic analytical paradigm for film studies. This analytical vehicle will help to understand and evaluate an unfolding global ideology reflected in apocalypse cinema that is imbued with anarchist-inflected sentiment and that significantly challenges a now deeply questionable patriarchal state-capitalist status quo.

Author Biography

Dr. David Christopher, University of Leicester

David Christopher is Lecturer in Popular Screen Cultures in the School of Arts, University of Leicester. He has published numerous articles and book chapters addressing digital cinema, Canadian cinema, anarchist cinema, international science fiction and apocalypse cinema, horror video games and cinema, reception and perception analyses, theatre history, and media studies. His current book in progress, Toronto New Wave and the Anarchist-Apocalypse, offers a new interpretation and updated history of an important movement in Canadian cinema.