July 29, 2021

Book / Zombies. Faces, figures …: criticism

Summary: The figure of the zombie has, in the hands of certain inspired authors and filmmakers, taken on an indisputable social and political dimension. A metaphor for our fears and a civilization that is going badly, the living dead have indeed become, through many films, the depositaries of the criticism of an unjust and violent world which tends to be dehumanized. This work intends to draw up a subjective panorama of committed works that are not afraid to denounce the abuses of our contemporary societies. He therefore voluntarily ignores some television productions such as The Walking Dead, to which several essays have already been devoted.

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Zombies. Faces of Figures – book

A figure of contestation as much as a horrific entity, the living dead, in its modern acceptance, has never ceased to shake the certainties of our society. By choosing this line of analysis as the main object of study, Erwan Bargain, journalist and essayist, risked breaking open doors for a long time. This fear seems to be confirmed from the first pages of his study devoted to the sole filmography of Romero. From Night of the Living Dead at Survival of the Dead, the author proposes a series of developments which only establish our certainties. And yet, it is in the hollow of this already-read that the peculiarity of writing lies. Because far from making Romero’s teaching the subject of a series of universal rules, Bargain takes care to reconsider the uniqueness of each of the films, choosing to approach them within autonomous sub-parts. This methodology is the price of its following chapters devoted to productions less known or, at least, less commented. Of the death of love by Michele Soavi, Me, zombie: chronic pain d’Andrew Parkinson, Fido d’Andrew Currie, Cargo by Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling or even The night has devoured the world by Dominique Rocher, prove that the sociological and political value of the zombie goes far beyond the framework of an isolated era or cinematography. For each example, its associated theme. Physical illness, obsession with the image, class struggle, feminism, ecological issues, fear of loneliness or of reaching adulthood are reflected through a relatively precise description of the narrative issues of films and their originality. formal.

While most of the productions benefit from full analyzes (as well as the question of language and language that the author develops quite brilliantly about Pontypool), the study of some boils down to grief. This gap is still found through the sources cited by the author. Whether among the references scattered over the pages or within the bibliography that closes the book, we are surprised that certain texts are missing that must be considered essential. Thus the sum devoted by Julien Sévéon to George Romero, the Zombie Politics coordinated by Jean-Baptiste Thoret, or the recent Zombie geography, the ruins of capitalism de Manouk Borzakian.

These few shortcomings aside, reading Bargain’s study remains pleasant and constitutes a fairly solid basis for anyone who would like to be introduced to the socio-political dimension of the zombie film.

  • ZOMBIES, FACES, FIGURES… SOCIAL AND POLITICAL DIMENSION OF THE LIVING DEAD IN THE CINEMA
  • Author: Erwan Bargain
  • Editions: Ocrea
  • Release Date: October 27, 2020
  • Languages: French only
  • Prices: 15 € (available to order online)