The Quarantine Film Diaries

Pavle Levi — Unfiltered Cinematic Thoughts from the Age of the Pandemic

Three classic dystopian science fiction films from the 1970s — Soylent Green (1973), The Omega Man (1971), and Logan’s Run (1976) — provide useful metaphors for some aspects of the present moment. Made at the time when the post-apocalyptic genre was in full swing, and world capitalism was beginning a sustained transformation into its now-widespread neoliberal (post-industrial, speculative, and viciously anti-welfare) phase, these films — these “cinematic models” — incite thinking about the socio-economic, ideological, and political underpinnings of the COVID-19 pandemic culture of distancing and isolation.
This text, written in April 2020, will itself not abide by the rules of proper distancing. Rather than respect common distinctions and clear-cut lines of separation, it will freely, in an unfiltered manner, intertwine cinematic fiction and today’s reality. The coronavirus has temporarily brought the world to a halt. In this interregnum, to appropriate Antonio Gramsci’s well-known formulation, a great variety of strange, impure (at times contradictory), and morbid symptoms appear…
— download the PDF-pamphlet in Andrej Dolinka’s design here.

* English-language version if this text  was first published in ASAP/J (the open-access platform of ASAP/Journal)



Pavle Levi is Osgood Hooker Professor of Fine Arts in Art Department’s Film and Media Studies Program at Stanford University. Levi is the author of several books: Disintegration in Frames (Stanford, 2007); Cinema by Other Means (Oxford, 2012); Jolted Images (Amsterdam, 2018); and, as editor, Filosofska igračka (A Philosophical Toy; Belgrade, B92, 2003).