Shape of Water: Das Flüstern des Wassers (2017)

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Shape of Water: Das Flüstern des Wassers: Directed by Guillermo del Toro. With Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer. At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.

“The Shape of Water is really quite remarkable for how perfectly it embodies the mainstream Hollywood sensibility. Its liberal-progressive undertone appears to be culturally relevant, but completely fails to challenge the audience in any meaningful way. Its story of people living at the margins of society bonding over their mutually subjugated status appears progressive and edgy, but its self-congratulatory moralizing suspends any need for serious cultural reflection. It is really the perfect film for politically correct liberals.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe film features the quintessential villain in the liberal cultural imagination today – a racist, sexist, ableist, psychopathic straight white man in the 60s with a white suburban nuclear family. The film really tries to show us how much of a psychopath he is, so that it can score progressive points without having to acknowledge or confront the larger systems of racism, patriarchy, and capitalism which operate as the social fabric of American society and provide the structural condition for peopleu0026#39;s exploitation and oppression.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn this regard, the film truly epitomizes the ideological manipulations of liberal humanism. Political, legal, social, and historical structures are conveniently ignored and replaced by a narrow focus on individual prejudices and cruelty. Social injustices are explained by the evil of specific individuals. Oppressed minorities are endlessly ennobled and their humanity uncritically celebrated. Villains are reduced to caricatures and do bad things simply because they are bad people.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eReveling in its technical competence and feel-good petit-bourgeois sensibility, the film is utterly unaware of its cultural vapidity, its artistic mediocrity, and its sinister complicity with the status quo. Sprinkled with some gratuitous violence, it is the perfect candidate for the Oscars – a polished, glib, pandering, ostensibly radical but ultimately uninspired fairy tale peddling a complacent and clichéd liberal humanism.”


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