Commodity Fetish in Atonement (2007)

In Atonement, much attention is paid to items and their influence on the characters and world around them. This is portrayed through long, wide-angle camera shots that linger on objects such as Robbie’s letter, the vase, Cecilia’s star hairpin, etc. Address these items from a Marxist perspective, in particular, using the theory of the "commodity fetish". What does the film’s focus on these items do for the plot development and narrative? Why is so much attention paid to them? My suggestion is that the items represent the culture of Britain pre and during World War II. As the film progresses, the items reflect the decay of wealth, power and culture in Britain.

  • I would suggest another interesting way to look at this topic: analyzing how the items represent a tactile way of establishing the work as a film SEPARATE from Ian McEwan. Must has been written about the novel's adaptation from page to screen, and it would be intriguing to comment on the relationship between these items and the medium of film. The film seems to be self-reflexive, using the wide-angle shots and lingered moments over the objects to really SHOW things in the way that a novel cannot. What does this say about the contents of the film? Does the ending of the film leave a different taste in the mouth than the novel? Does the film evoke more sympathy because the audience can SEE the events unfold in front of them? I think your topic is very interesting, though this could be another angle through which you could look at it. – asmoreno 7 years ago

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