Besides being a hilarious, high octane shoot-em-up, Paul Verhoeven’s (NL) 1987 classic presciently depicted the violent potential of unbridled techno-capitalism. In its dystopian future Detroit, corporations provide a technological fix for crime and poverty: an android police officer, whose explosive arsenal gives new meaning to high-calibre law enforcement.
Like the later Starship Troopers, Robocop critiques the fascism dormant in the worship of violent entertainment, weapons and the lone American hero – by exercising that worship to a pleasurable excess. When justice is left to the market and technology, new forms of injustice emerge, with results that are equally chilling and darkly humorous.
The film will be introduced by Florian Cramer. As a reader in 21st Century Visual Culture at Willem de Kooning Academy, he knows a thing or two about Robocop’s cultural significance – and also about Rotterdam. For Cramer, the future Detroit of this prophetic classic is comparable to his resident city, foreshadowing familiar phenomena in its urban development, neoliberal administration and policing. Watch out for Omni Consumer Products onscreen and in the Randstad.