In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni is a 1978 black and white French language political film by Guy Debord. This film, which was meant to be Debord's last one, is largely autobiographical but begins with a thorough and pitiless critique of the spectator who goes to the cinema to forget about his dispossessed daily life:
- "I will make no concessions to the public in this film. I believe there are several good reasons for this decision, and I am going to state them.
- In the first place, it is well known that I have never made any concessions to the dominant ideas or ruling powers of my era.
- Moreover, nothing of importance has ever been communicated by being gentle with a public, not even one like that of the age of Pericles; and in the frozen mirror of the screen the spectators are not looking at anything that might suggest the respectable citizens of a democracy.
- But most importantly: this particular public, which has been so totally deprived of freedom and which has tolerated every sort of abuse, deserves less than any other to be treated gently. The advertising manipulators, with the usual impudence of those who know that people tend to justify whatever affronts they don’t avenge, calmly declare that “People who love life go to the cinema.” But this life and this cinema are equally paltry, which is why it hardly matters if one is substituted for the other."
The title of the movie is a palindrome known as "the Devil's verse." It is Latin for "We enter the circle at night and are consumed by fire", and was said to describe the behavior of moths. It is likely from medieval rather than ancient times.
Glockgirl at IMDb comments that "the use of stills upon which the discourse progresses from the evocation of the mechanisms of the society of the spectacle, the alienation by consumption, the oppression of modern society to the deception of imbecile propaganda cinema, transmitting falsehood, to considerations about Paris, the loss of its true spirit and about himself, Guy Debord, is not only an illustration of détournement ... but it is simply a beautiful work of modern visual poetry."
A 2007 retrospective of the SI in Basel and Utrecht was aptly titled "In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni".