Watch: Zizek on Jaws and Fascism

What do the shark attacks mean in Stephen Spielberg’s 1975 film “Jaws“? Theorist Slavoj Zizek investigates the question his latest film “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

“Fidel Castro, who loves the film, once said that for him it was obvious that Jaws is kind of a leftist/Marxist film and that the shark is a metaphor for brutal, big, capitalism exploiting ordinary American,” Zizek notes. But Jaws shouldn’t be seen as a metaphor for capitalism, but the figure of the Other in fascism.

We have, Zizek argues, a laundry list of fears about corporations, immigrants, the environment and so on . “The function of the shark is to unite all these fears so that we can, in a way, trade all these fears for one fear alone.” He continues to note that fascism worked in precisely this way.
“You need to generate an ideological narrative which explains how things went wrong in a society, not as the result of the inherent tensions in the development of this society, but as the result of a foreign intruder…It’s the same operation as with the shark in Jaws.” This, for the Nazis, was the figure of the Jew.