In the summer of 1971, Stanford social psychology professor Philip Zimbardo conducted the now famous Stanford Prison Experiment in order to observe what happens when ordinary individuals are placed in roles of authority and submission. Twenty-four college students were divided into two groups—guards and inmates. Originally designed as a two-week study, Zimbardo ended the experiment on the sixth day due to the increasingly sadistic manner in which the guards treated the inmates and the rapid psychological deterioration of the inmates as a result of the simulated prison environment.
The film Buenos Aires 1977 takes place in a secret detention centre run by the military junta who ruled Argentina from 1976 until 1983. The literal translation of the Spanish title of the film, “Chronicle of a Fugue” points to the dreamlike state in which both captive and captor exist. The Zimbardo experiment shows how quickly individuals can slip into experiences or actions that were once relegated to the stuff of nightmares. In a world in which law and order now includes the vocabulary of stress positions, extraordinary rendition, dietary manipulation, and coercive interrogation, Buenos Aires 1977 can be viewed not only as a reminder of a dark page of one nation’s history but also as a cautionary tale for the future we are in the process of creating. You can listen to Dr. Zimbardo on Radio Open Source this Tuesday and you can watch Buenos Aires 1977 at QFT at 6:30 PM.
Also on Tuesday…
The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun wins the best lead in a festival brochure blurb prize with the following description: “Mr. Vig, an 82-year-old virgin, realizes a 50 year-old dream—to turn his castle into a monastery. Then, love and the Russian Orthodox nuns arrive.” Watch those Russian monastic sparks fly at QFT at 8:45 PM
The 6th Belfast World Pong Championships show the world that unlike cheese rolling, this sport is here to stay. Watch out for “young fresh faced joystick jamming pretenders” and the cunning linguistics of such clever people as Richard West and Dan Jewesbury. If for some unfathomable reason you find yourself not able to attend what is sure to be a cultural jewel you can soothe your soul with vintage pongage courtesy of LTA.
(Image above from 'The Monastery: Mr Vig and the Nun; Image at top from Buenos Aires 1977)