I, Qassandra

United States/United Kingdom, 1985, 134 Mins., Color, 2:14, English

I was returning to Terry Gilliam’s 1985 dystopia Brazil, following Slavoj Žižek’s notes on bureaucracy in this film and others. The concepts of Cyberpunk and Solarpunk, taken from Dami Lee’s discussions of architecture, were added to the mix. To be eventually distilled to grey equals truth, color equals fantasy (contrary to the prevailing way of coloring reality and fantasy[1]), if you take the movie’s immediate perspective. I further narrowed it down to the green of bare grass vs. the brown-grey of a sheltered house. The bigger the darkest, if you think castle. Until man was able to shed some light on it, firstly in Gothic architecture using spider-like outside system of flying buttresses that supported the weight of the walls and enabled the installation of large windows and in our present times with reinforced concrete allowing builders to construct external walls entirely out of glass.

Cyberpunk, Dami points out, equals the Brutalist style of architecture. My neighbourhood has a lot of it, but they are now covering the bare, greyish concrete with white panelling, seemingly to protect the decaying, dilapidating buildings from demolition, but ostensibly they are transforming the landscape from grey in-yer-face statement into bright, shiny reflective white, a mirror projecting and echoing the surrounding coloured fantasy, or the clouds, making the buildings part of nature and not a foreign objects stuck in it, thus seemingly avoiding disharmony with nature. Like The Line city planned to be erected in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert (see Dami’s YouTube episode on it here), a narrow, tall city, with outer walls that are presented in the marketed simulations as huge reflecting surfaces. Its internal surroundings, according to its planners, are meant to constitute a utopian city. However, Dami, like other professional architects, ponders whether this could easily end up as a dystopian construction, bearing some familiar dystopian characteristics, like sparse amount of natural light for the inhabitants of the lower floors, that can potentially lead to the development of a class society based on light consumption, among others, as was the case in the notorious now-demolished Kowloon walled city in Hong Kong (discussed in this Dami’s YouTube episode). I still wonder why the outer surfaces of The Line have to be reflective, given that no one inside this walled city would see them. They would only be visible from the outside, and as no one would wander the harsh hot desert for fun, the primary audience for these reflective walls would be the private investors targeted by the promotional presentations.

Utopia and dystopia in architecture, thus, are not mere the product of some fictional works of art but are here, present in our daily lives. Watching the movie, I couldn’t decide if it was meant to be like that, who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. What is wrong and what is right… What comes first, the individual good or society’s good, a functioning society was established, is seemingly essential, to guarantee the individual’s well-being, the individual interests, and still at times it can take a life of its own, and if you try to fix it or to jeopardise it, are you acting for your own egoistic need or for the benefit of humankind.

Are the terrorists who break in every now and then and disturb the orderly world of the main plot just vandals harming innocent people directly or by challenging the rules of this totalitarian society, if not for personal materialistic gain, for a certain kind of narcissistic enjoyment or satisfaction, or are they freedom fighters aiming to change society for the better and if so, do they even have a chance to bring about any change in this so suffocating regime. Can Jack the torturer of Information Retrieval department (as it is called, a whitewashed term to describe practically a kind of inquisition) harm his until not long ago best friend. He can’t look him in the eyes and hides behind a mask of a Chinese baby, why are babies, the symbol of innocence, used in many genre films to represent a source of demonic, devilish presence… weird dual symbolism, and in this movie those baby masks are also seen on the poor creatures with no opinions of their own who accept the rules imposed on them, by virtue of their innocence, in the protagonist’s Heroic dreams, the same ones that practice, by the same virtue of their innocence and believe in the greater good, Foucault’s concept of self-imposed governmentality, of disciplinary powers, in order to not let anyone stepping out of the lines.

Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Baby mask in grey torture silo chamber
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Baby mask in grey torture silo chamber

Personal attributes are kind of erased when living in the Brutalist surroundings of the movie. Most of the spaces are colourless uniform greyish. The only pops of color appear in shopping malls, inside the church and in huge commercial billboard panels along both sides of the road the protagonists move on, that block the view, keeping the brownish-greyish landscape behind them out of sight, hiding the greyish true and disguising it with the fantasy world of commercials. Meaning, the color can only exist in a fantasy, in a constructed unreal message of consumerism, in your dreams of bigger-than-life love, courage and free will, in church that also offers this kind a fantasy, and in your mother’s house, which is might be part of the fantasy, as the mother and the lover submerged into kind of the same. Or, it is just reflecting the way the special privileged rich people live in a corrupted society, similar to the higher class populating the sun-lit upper floors of the cyberpunk skyscraper city, the lower parts of which are the dark cramped dwellings of the less fortunate, as explained by Dami in several episodes (the Line, Cyberpink etc.). However, this privileged living is no more than a fantasy in all respects, a fantasy of a great achieving society, a strong and providing government, and personal greatness, power and freedom.

That is to say, color is personal, color is subjective, but it is also a fantasy, something you create yourself, in your dreams or art and something that you consume, in church and in other places of worship, as well as from commercials, election campaigns, governmental notices, and so on. The colourful green country life out of the city can only be found in your dreams, in a land far away – like Brazil… above the clouds where our everyman clumsy protagonist, Sam Lowry, flies in his dreams, taking the shape of a winged superhero, who combats the big samurai Transformer in one scene or is grabbed by the big grey bricks earth monster who begs him: please don’t go, when he is about to take off… Is it a form of not letting go of mother earth or Mother Nature. Those dreams also clearly refer to the myth of Icarus and Daedalus, about the man who didn’t follow orders, flew too close to the sun and burnt down.

Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - over the clouds
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - over the clouds

The solution to the conflict presented is losing your mind completely to the sphere of the fantasy – as our protagonist at the end of the movie enters a catatonic state in the greyish, brutalist, huge, high ceiling round torture chamber that is aspired upright like Gothic architecture, but lacks the delicacy of the fantasy promising stained glass windows. Sunken in a world of his own, he fantasizes a quiet life with no one but him and his (dead) loved one in the secluded country far away, all alone, while still living in a mass-fabricated house unit stolen from the city. I ponder whether it is a factor of disturbance, a source of pollution in pure nature, or if is it converted into an amicable technology that enables a comfortable living in and with nature, as expressed by the concept of Solarpunk.

The brutalist power of church structures is clearly manifested in the movie as the protagonist moves toward a brutalist building and while you may think he is approaching yet another government building of bureaucracy, you than encounter two purple crosses. But then, as you enter, it turns out to be a funeral, which makes a celebration out of a consumerism failure – a casualty of series of plastic surgeries gone wrong, that never lost hope or ceased to believe the promises about a fantasied fix that is yet to come.

Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Utopia in the countryside
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Utopia in the countryside

So, maybe, color is hope, something that is not really attainable, but nevertheless, one you always keep chasing, like a desire, like Jouissance. Something you need to consume in large quantities, especially when living in a dystopian world of a huge grey, condense, unconceivably tall environment with narrow passages and people who are forced to fight for limited resources, and deal with uncooperative and intimidating government that makes you feel small and insignificant, no matter what you do.

Dami points out in the episode Cyberpuk/Solarpunk that we are kind of conditioned to expect the worst, as Neuroscientific research show that pessimism can actually reduce anxiety, especially when the outcome still has the possibility to be prevented. However, in this movie, for some reason, the protagonist doesn’t expect the worst, he is still in his naïve phase, still maintaining a sense of innocence, so much so that he still hasn’t developed an owe for the rules or a fear for the consequences of breaking them. He is not a professional terrorist, who breaks the rules for personal gain or in a pursuit of what he believes is the common good, he just innocently chases his fantasy and is willing to overcome all obstacle posed by the rules in order to attain it. Individuals of this kind may be the most dangerous to regimes of this sort. Babies, not like the ones disguised by the Chinese baby masks, pretending to be innocent while serving as preserving agents. Real babies. who genuinely believe that if mistakes happen, they can and should be rectified, even if they work in a place where they have to eliminate serious mistakes made due to stupid bureaucratic errors of misspellings. As our protagonist aims toward a low-floor apartment of the Buttle family, whose father, mistaken for the terrorist Tuttle, was taken to interrogation and consequently died, he doesn’t seem to understand the widow’s indifferent grief, not only for her husband but for the uselessness of the government. He came to give her a refund check to correct the financial transaction by which the family was wrongly charged for the expenses of the government’s erroneous arrest and interrogation, as by this dehumanized action, they think, he believes, they can make this unjust mistake go away.

Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Ads recommend no fear, no suspicion, no panic vacation camps
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Ads recommend no fear, no suspicion, no panic vacation camps


It may seem weird to the people of today, but in earlier times, people were taught to consume information and not to produce it, not to speak up, as compared to nowadays, where if you don’t have a voice on social media and beyond, you’re nothing. Back then, having a voice was a vice, unless you were a bureaucrat. Žižek describes this kind of voice, referring to a scene from Brazil:
…we meet—in the corridors of a vast government agency—a group of people permanently running around, a leader (big shot bureaucrat) followed by a bunch of lower administrators who shout at him all the time, asking him for a specific opinion or decision, and he nervously spurts out fast, “efficient” replies (“This is to be done by tomorrow latest!” “Check that report!” “No, cancel that appointment!”. . .). The appearance of a nervous hyperactivity is, of course, a staged performance which masks a self-indulgent nonsensical spectacle of imitating, of playing “efficient administration.” Why do they walk around all the time? The leader, whom they follow, is obviously not on the way from one to another meeting—the meaningless fast walk around the corridors is all he does. The hero stumbles from time to time on this group, and the Kafkaesque answer is, of course, that this entire performance is here to attract his gaze, staged for his eyes only. They pretend to be busy, not to be bothered by the hero, but all their activity is here to provoke the hero into addressing a demand to the group’s leader, who then snaps back nervously “Can’t you see how busy I am!” or, occasionally, does the reverse, greets the hero as if he was waiting for him for a long time, mysteriously expecting his plea.[2]
However, this voice is meaningless for the greater good or even for the bureaucrat himself:
What this example of bureaucracy makes clear is that the very ultimate failure of bureaucratic machinery is what sustains it, what makes it efficient, since this failure opens up the space for the surplus-enjoyment. At the utilitarian level, a bureaucratic apparatus works to regulate things and resolve problems: courts distribute justice, police investigates crimes, and so on. There is, however, always a surplus over this pragmatic function, a bureaucratic machine always gets caught in the vicious cycle of reproducing its own movement, creating problems in order to be able to work on them, and this circularity generates surplus-enjoyment. From the purely utilitarian standpoint, getting caught in this circular movement has to appear as a failure to do the job properly and efficiently, but it is this very failure which generates the excess of enjoyment. A true bureaucrat is busy all the time, achieving nothing, frantically turning in circles and ignoring calls to just do some simple thing that would really help people.[3]
This surplus-enjoyment (Fr. plus-de-jouir) is a product of the surplus value (to use Marx’s term) of bureaucracy: “the labor that produces ritual value is what is in labor more than the goal-directed activity—this labor itself is a ritualized activity which generates an enjoyment of its own.”[4] This kind of conduct is well demonstrated by the case of the failing air-condition in the protagonist’s apartment. His calls to Central Services are not being answered due to the late hour, but suddenly appears a terrorist against bureaucracy, Harry Tuttle, who fixes the problem in no time, in an efficient and tidy way while installing a certain bypass.
After the hero’s plumbing breaks down and he leaves a message to the official repair service for urgent help, Robert De Niro enters his apartment, a mythical-mysterious criminal whose subversive activity is that he listens on the emergency calls and then immediately goes to the customer, repairing his plumbing for free, bypassing the inefficient state repair service’s paperwork. Indeed, in a bureaucracy caught in his vicious cycle of jouissance, the ultimate crime is to simply and directly do the job one is supposed to do—if a state repair service actually does its job, this is (at the level of its unconscious libidinal economy) considered an unfortunate byproduct, since the bulk of its energy goes into inventing complicated administrative procedures that enable it to invent ever new obstacles and thus postpone indefinitely the work.[5]
And how bureaucracy defends itself from such a crime… As sustaining the system becomes the main object of desire, it is not only that the pragmatic functions in the name of which this system was established are now considered secondary in importance or not important at all, they can be intentionally jeopardized in order to punish the poor Rebel who when just wanting his AC to be promptly fixed in the middle of the night so he could get back to sleep, he desperately kind of let this modern Robin Hood in. Now that the Central Services technicians finally arrive they act as kind of interrogation agents, like those from the high-regarded department of Information Retrieval, they tried to expose the perpetrator who made the AC plumbing “fix themselves,” and for that, they tear the apartment’s plumbing down, filling the apartment with all those tubes taken out from the walls and ceiling and later, to even further abuse the poor protagonist, they freeze the apartment while they wait there to catch him in protective suits. He is then pushed to really act vindictive and connect their suits to the sewage pipe. This redundant conflict with the bureaucratic system eventually leads to the protagonist demise into madness. Or a dream, “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, …”[6] Well, not before he is informed that he would have to pay for his own interrogation…
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - and the bureaucrats walk
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - and the bureaucrats walk


What is left open for us, the viewers, to guess is how the protagonist got all those anti-system ideas in the first place. From the Freudian point of view, one may assume that our protagonist is on a quest to get his Lost Object, his primary love object, his mother. He is still caught in the stage where he incorporates it into fantasy, transforming his real mother into an image of an ideal lover, not yet transitioning to the stage where he “bypasses the need for the object by regarding it as a lost object beyond the reach of the self. […] When the subject does not recognize the object as lost, as in melancholia, the object is incorporated in fantasy, where it maintains a silent existence within the subject.”[7] If we go with this interpretation, then maybe the huge samurai Transformer is representing the rival Father he fights (like Oedipus) in order to get his mother back. But the father in Lacan’s theory is although the Big Other, the rules, the law, the system, God. Yet we can attribute this fantasy quest of his to a state ideological interpellation (using Althusser’s concept), through which he recognizes himself as someone completely different from what he was in reality, which makes him disregard all the rules of the society he was living in, rules he knew so well, being one of the system’s agents, and act against them for the sake of this fantasy idea of pursuing true love. The movie leaves the source of this narrative obscure. Maybe it is deduced from commercials promoting ideal living. But at the same time it might be a case of misinterpellation. A hint may be given to us by the character of Jack, one of the head torturers from Information Retrieval.

Information retrieval is the most sought-after department. Getting to work there is a big promotion for our protagonist, who initially declines the proposition arranged by his influential, well-connected and over-domineering mother, or so his former boss did on his behalf, the reinstatement of which necessitates some words with friends in high places. But practically, this department is responsible, apart from the overwhelming numbing bureaucracy, for applying any means necessary, that is, mostly torture, to retrieve the requested information, whether true or false. So, why is it such a great honor to be promoted to a rank of a torturer, is the torturer psychopath the aspired model figure in this dystopian society. Jack finds it extremely hard to perform the acts of torture on his friend but feels obliged to do so – why. I think this is a case of conflicting ideological interpellations of moral values and survival needs, but it seems that one eventually prevails over the other. And it’s not the altruist one, as this kind of situation reveals the true conformist and egoistic nature of human beings, their survival mechanism, similar to the wish chamber in Tarkovski’s Stalker.

Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Ads teach you Happiness
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Ads teach you Happiness

Maybe we may better understand this conflict by addressing the concept of Utopia. First coined in 1516 by Thomas More for his Latin text by the same name, it usually describes an imaginary community or society that possesses highly desirable or near-perfect qualities for its members. Žižek, in yet another article, “The Liberal Utopia: section II: The Market Mechanism for the Race of Devils,”[8] seems to describe precisely the mother issues of our protagonist in the Lacanian perspective of Utopia:

The core of a Lacanian notion of utopia is: a vision of desire functioning without objet a and its twists and loops. It is utopian not only to think that one can reach the unencumbered full “incestuous” jouissance; it is no less utopian to think that one can renounce/sacrifice jouissance without this renunciation generating its own surplus-jouissance.

But to those kinds of standard “Utopia as simple imaginary impossibility (the utopia of a perfected harmonious social order without antagonisms, the consumerist utopia of today’s capitalism)” he adds yet another kind of utopia, the liberal radical utopia:

For liberalism, at least in its radical form, the wish to submit people to an ethical ideal that we hold for universal is “the crime which contains all crimes,” the mother of all crimes – it amounts to the brutal imposition of one’s own view onto others, the cause of civil disorder. Which is why, if one wants to establish civil peace and tolerance, the first condition is to get rid of “moral temptation”: politics should be thoroughly purged of moral ideals and rendered “realistic,” taking people as they are, counting on their true nature, not on moral exhortations. Market is here exemplary: human nature is egotistic, there is no way to change it – what is needed is a mechanism that would make private vices work for common good (the “Cunning of Reason”). In his “Perpetual Peace,” Kant provided a precise formulation of this key feature:

Many say a republic would have to be a nation of angels, because men with their selfish inclinations are not capable of a constitution of such sublime form. But precisely with these inclinations nature comes to the aid of the general will established on reason, which is revered even though impotent in practice. Thus it is only a question of a good organization of the state (which does lie in man’s power), whereby the powers of each selfish inclination are so arranged in opposition that one moderates or destroys the ruinous effect of the other. The consequence for reason is the same as if none of them existed, and man is forced to be a good citizen even if not a morally good person. The problem of organizing a state, however hard it may seem, can be solved even for a race of devils.

One should follow this line to its conclusion: a fully self-conscious liberal should intentionally limit his altruistic readiness to sacrifice his own good for the others’ Good, aware that the most efficient way to act for the common good is to follow one’s private egotism. The inevitable obverse of the Cunning of Reason motto “private vices, common good” is: “private goodness, common disaster.”[9]

He eventually concludes that “the global liberal order clearly asserts itself as the best of all possible worlds; the modest rejection of utopias ends with imposing its own market-liberal utopia which will become reality when we will properly apply market and legal Human Rights mechanisms. Behind all this lurks the ultimate totalitarian nightmare, the vision of a New Man who left behind the old ideological baggage.”[10]

Grey and colored environments are sharing the same space in Jack’s office. On one side, there’s a greyish white medical practice section with white sink surfaces full of blood (that nobody makes a fuss out of), and on the other side, a colorful environment of a desk/living room with his little girl sitting on the carpet. As if she is too innocent to understand what is going on, but not that dumb not to notice and duly corrects him, twice, when he refers to her as Amy and Cloe (presumably her triplet-sisters) when she, in fact, is Holly. The colorful individual style is planted in the brutalist room. Is it just a fantasy, or can the two may coexist and cohabitate in the same place. If those two attitudes toward life coexist, we only see some inconclusive glimpses of the colored. This representation may posit Jack as a moral person, a good person in a vice society, thus explaining his difficulty with performing torture when it’s personal, on someone he knows, when he is an individual and not a cog, as Žižek remarks: “There is in liberalism, from its very inception, a tension between individual freedom and objective mechanisms which regulate the behaviour of a crowd – it was already Benjamin Constant who formulated clearly this tension: everything is moral in individuals, but everything is physical in crowds; everybody is free as individual, but a cog in a machine in a crowd.”[11]

But Jack, who does not respect the interrogees’ individuality while torturing them, doesn’t even respect the individuality of both his daughter and his wife, when not remembering the daughter’s real name, not individualizing her from her sisters, and by nicknaming his wife Alison “Barbara”, because some executive misnamed her. Jack is so conditioned to conform, he loses or more than willing to give up his individuality. Our protagonist’s infantile persona, on the other hand, just doesn’t get how the world ticks and thus never really becomes an obedient cog. It seems that somehow even in this overbearing society, there are individuals over which the over-controlling system can’t gain control, baby-like individuals like the babies in the Duino Elegies of Rainer Maria Rilke, the only ones that are not yet corrupted and can gaze at what Rilke called the Open, or the Sublime, and Lacan called The Real. And the Real can still provide the proper object of desire – hope. Or so it seems.

Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Not much natural light in the slums
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Not much natural light in the slums
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Crammed quarters of the less privilege
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Crammed quarters of the less privilege

But let’s get back to Dami’s episode on Solarpunk. This is a nice idea, she concludes, that seemingly goes against (rebels, as the term “punk” insinuates) consumerism, corporate power, and the harsh living conditions of dense cities; it promotes sustainability, environmentalism and a friendly communal society whose members share responsibility and live in harmony with nature. However, its expressions are mainly manifested and used, paradoxically, to advance consumerism in commercials. Is it really feasible or does it only exist for the purpose of producing hope, an aspiration for a better world, morally, a certain object of desire that only meant to sustain our hopelessly-manipulated way of living. In order to promote greyish conformism one must color it with green altruism. But then what happens when someone chooses to take altruism to the extreme.

Žižek perspective on liberal Utopia can color it differently: “The ‘regulative idea’ that underlies today’s global liberal justice is not only to bring out all past (acts which appear from today’s standards as) collective crimes; it also involves the Politically Correct utopia of ‘restituting’ past collective violence by payment or legal regulations (paying billions of dollars to the US Blacks for the consequences of slavery, etc.) This is the true utopia, the idea that a legal order can pay back for its founding crime, thereby retroactively cleansing itself of its guilt and regain its innocence. What is at the end of this road is the ecological utopia of humanity in its entirety repaying its debt to Nature for all its past exploitation.”[12]

Solarpunk is, therefore, this utopic way of repaying Nature, more than a “utopia of a perfected harmonious social order without antagonisms,” as it is not really clear why living in the wild is better than living in comfortable, organized, efficient cities. It’s not that economical, it involves great deal of solitude and great challenges regarding survival, dealing with the elements and the disastrous mayhem they may bring all by yourself. Referring to the suburbs that were established in the 20th century, offering a seeming less crowded environment, which was then considered higher standard of living, Dami points out that “studies show that suburban dwellers emit up to four times the amount of emission than people living in urban areas,” as they share fewer resources. Maybe, this return to nature idea has to do with the grim days of 19th century’s industrial revolution – when many farmers lost their source of income and were forced to immigrant to crowded slummy quarters of the city with impossible living conditions and work in factories of mass-production, where they become a small cog and lost their individuality. Thus, rural lives was then considered paradise lost.

Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Sam Lowry Superhero
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - Sam Lowry Superhero
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - samurai Transformer to fight
Brazil (1985) - Screenshot - samurai Transformer to fight

Dami asks if this solarpunk is feasible in real life and brings examples of little rural communities that was established here and there. Like the Earthship movement of the late 20th century, with the earliest communities founded in New Mexico (see Kirsten Dirksen’s episode on it) and then spread to small pocket around the world. Dami talks about Solarpunk as a potential idea for the future. She still has hope that a beautiful, glowing, sustainable future is possible, refusing to surrender to the depressing feeling she experienced while taking this class on sustainability it university, because it just seemed like wherever humans go, ecological devastation inevitably follows. Hope is nice, and as we above mentioned, it’s essential to our existence. But in my country, we are familiar with this kind of arrangement quite well – with the kind of community known as Kibbutz – a rural commune where everyone works to earn, to contribute as much as they can to the shared resources (monetary and others) and consumes, takes, as little as they need. An altruist act of the individual for a greater good, the establishment of the state. While it became increasingly difficult to settle for less and waive private property in an environment that become more and more capitalist and sanctified capitalist values, there were still some people who were willing to put their moral values before their personal needs, who gain a surplus-enjoyment for being moral people, for the ritual value of the righteous. Most of them didn’t resist temptation and their Kibbutz was privatised. But this happened not because people became greedy all of a sudden. This is the excuse liberalism gave in order to eliminate resistance and alternatives. The main reason for the failure of the economic structure of this arrangement was lack of self-sufficiency. It couldn’t exist without the greater capitalist structure surrounding it, it couldn’t exist within the greater capitalist structure surrounding it. It served its social and economic immediate purposes when there was a need to support the establishment of the state with few resources to none, but later it conflicted with the system in which it resided, as it didn’t yield capitalist goods or sufficient goods to sustain itself in this kind of system. As if it epitomized this liberal idea of “private goodness, common disaster.”[13]

Žižek claims that the encounter of the humble individual with bureaucracy is similar to the encounter with the divine in our secular times. “What can be more ‘divine’ than the traumatic encounter with the bureaucracy at its craziest—when, say, a bureaucrat tells us that, legally, we don’t exist? It is in such encounters that we get the glimpse of another order beyond the mere terrestrial everyday reality. Like God, bureaucracy is simultaneously all-powerful and impenetrable, capricious, omnipresent, and invisible.”[14] As the church in this movie becomes a place of spectacle glorifying (so to speak) fake world of consumerism in disguise of bureaucracy building and bureaucracy gets out of hand and loses its ritual value that calms our inherent anxiety, one must find another lost object, another source of hope to follow and worship. And who got better ritual value than nature itself.

The Movie

[1] Among the films introducing color as reality and black and white as fantasy, one may find: Cléo De 5 À 7 (1962), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Wings of Desire (1987), Pleasantville (1998), and more. There are far fewer films that feature color as fantasy, the most famous of which is The Wizard of Oz (1939).

[2] Slavoj Žižek, “Bureaucracy As A Machine Of Jouissance”, 30.1.2023 https://slavoj.substack.com/p/bureaucracy-as-a-machine-of-jouissance

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1 (from the monolog “To be or not to be”)

[7] https://nosubject.com/Lost_Object

[8] Slavoj Žižek, “The Liberal Utopia – section II: The Market Mechanism for the Race of Devils,” 8 January 2008 https://www.lacan.com/zizliberal2.htm#2x

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Slavoj Žižek, “Bureaucracy As A Machine Of Jouissance”, 30.1.2023 https://slavoj.substack.com/p/bureaucracy-as-a-machine-of-jouissance

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