TITANIC (1997)

The cows go back to Titanic and explore how Cameron weaves together themes of love, memory, duty, and class into a massive scale disaster flick. Is Titanic, which was at the time the most expensive and highest grossing movie ever, secretly an anti-capitalist propaganda piece? Or is it just the pinnacle of Hollywood bombast? Tune in to find out!

What is the disaster at the center of the ultimate disaster movie? Most obvious is the literal disaster of the sinking ship, thousands of lives lost, the collective horror and suffering of so many forced to endure the freezing waters. But many less obvious disasters lurk beneath the surface, like the massive bulk of a looming iceberg.

One is the disaster of Rose and Jack, who met and fell in love under the most challenging of circumstances, and were granted only a few days with each other. For many of us, the choice to have loved and lost (and ensuing responsibility of maintaining the memories of that love for the rest of your life) and to have never so-loved may not be so obvious. 

Another is the disaster of capitalist/industrialist hubris — the downfall of the late modern aristocracy and the beginning of the darkest period of the 20th Century, one marked by two world wars flanking a worldwide economic depression. 

Yet, perhaps most disastrous of all is that the lessons of industrial capitalism, with all its excesses and evils, were lost in a series of failed 20th Century Communist experiments. The opportunity for exploring a new way of living was, in that moment, a real possibility, squandered by the same human tendencies that keep our contemporary global market an efficient system of exploitation. 

Here, we have James Cameron’s depiction of another way of living: Rose is saved by Jack from the clutches of a capitalist mindset that subjugates everyone around her. In throwing the Heart of the Ocean away, she repudiates this entire mindset, choosing instead to forge her own path, focusing on her adventures and relationships rather than accumulating wealth and power for its own sake. That Cameron puts this subversive stuff in what was at the time the most expensive movie ever made is an ironic touch that might have earned him a blacklisting by the HUAC had this movie come out fifty years earlier. // Blobcat


Are you ready to go back to Titanic?

Brock Lovett

                 

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