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Watch: Video Essay Explores Wealth In American Film From ‘Modern Times’ to ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

Written by on February 18, 2016 

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While I might find arguments about what does and does not constitute an “American” quality in cinema to be a bit tedious, I can’t help but think Drew Morton grasps something within that range in his video essay The Rosebud Syndrome: Wealth in American Film. This adaptation-of-sorts of Robin Wood’s “Ideology, Genre, Auteur” considers the prominence of money, wealthy, and capitalistic attitudes in prominent American films, reaching from Modern Times to The Wolf of Wall Street and covering the 77 years in-between with prominent examples of financial dick-measuring.

This is represented both directly (via clips) and through nifty bits of split-screening, visual layering, and sonic manipulation, though its point is clear enough no matter the technique at hand. Is anything clearer than greed and more direct than excess?

Have a look below:

What’s your favorite movie mentioned?


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