Titanic perpetuates a system of exploitation and oppression | Sunday Observer

Titanic perpetuates a system of exploitation and oppression

23 April, 2023

Titanic is a 1997 epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The movie tells the story of Jack Dawson, a poor artist, and Rose DeWitt Bukater, a wealthy socialite, who fall in love aboard the ill-fated RMS Titanic.

From a technical standpoint, Titanic is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking. The film’s special effects, particularly the recreations of the Titanic and its sinking, are stunning and immersive. The cinematography is also impressive, capturing the grandeur and opulence of the ship as well as the chaos and terror of its sinking.

The acting in Titanic is excellent, with both DiCaprio and Winslet delivering powerful performances. Their chemistry is palpable and their love story is both romantic and tragic. The supporting cast also shines, particularly Billy Zane as Rose’s fiancé Cal, who portrays the character’s entitlement and cruelty convincingly.

One criticism of Titanic is its running time of over three hours, which some viewers may find excessive. However, the film’s pacing is generally well-done, with the first half establishing the characters and their relationships, while the second half focuses on the disaster and its aftermath.

Another criticism of Titanic is its historical accuracy, with some inaccuracies and fictionalized elements present in the film. However, as a work of fiction, the movie’s focus is on the human drama and the emotional impact of the Titanic’s sinking rather than a strict retelling of the historical events.

Zizek’s explanation

Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher, has written about the exploitation of labor in popular culture, including movies like Titanic. From his perspective, the film can be seen as an example of how the wealthy elite exploit the working class for their own benefit.

In Titanic, we see the luxurious lifestyles of the wealthy passengers on the ship, while the workers in the lower decks are portrayed as nameless, faceless labourers whose lives are expendable. They work tirelessly to maintain the ship, but are treated as disposable commodities by the ship’s owners and upper-class passengers.

Zizek argues that this portrayal is an example of how capitalism exploits labour for profit. The workers are used to create wealth for the elite, but are not valued as human beings in their own right. Instead, they are seen as a means to an end, and their lives are considered less important than the lives of the wealthy passengers.

Furthermore, the film also reinforces traditional gender roles and romanticizes the idea of sacrificing oneself for love. Rose, the female protagonist, is portrayed as a wealthy woman who falls in love with a working-class man. She is willing to give up her life of luxury to be with him, while he sacrifices his life to save hers.

Romanticization of sacrifice

Zizek argues that this romanticization of sacrifice is problematic because it reinforces the idea that the working class should be willing to sacrifice their lives for the benefit of the wealthy elite. In this way, the film perpetuates a system of exploitation and oppression that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

Zizek’s analysis of Titanic highlights the ways in which popular culture can perpetuate systems of exploitation and oppression. The film portrays the exploitation of labor and reinforces traditional gender roles, both of which serve to reinforce the status quo and maintain the power of the ruling elite.

Overall, Titanic is a powerful and memorable film that combines romance and tragedy with stunning visuals and impressive filmmaking. It remains a beloved and iconic movie, and its impact on popular culture is still felt today.