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- The French film Z does this well, portraying the work of an unnamed junta taking power in an unnamed European country... but the Greek government that prompted the movie's creation is always mentioned in the same sentence when the film is described. In this regards it is similar to Missing, by the same director, which is set in Chile, though never stated, and they even mention a few of the cities (including Santiago and Valparaiso). A similar film is It's Raining On Santiago, except that was explicitly about the 1973 military coup d'etat in Chile.
- Most, if not all, of the works of Spike Lee fall under this trope.
- Parodied in Undercover Brother, in which there really is a 'Man' who is keeping African-Americans as second-class citizens and controls a massive secret organisation devoted to this purpose. Also parodied with 'Conspiracy Brother', a parody of black activists who often goes on rants of this nature; however, he's also spectacularly ill-informed, liable to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation and construe anything as being part of a conspiracy to keep black people down regardless of how innocent or nakedly ludicrous it really is, and really rather stupid.
- Also parodied in Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, which has an actual random white guy running around the hood, doing everything he can to keep the black man down, to the point where he shoots one of the main character's friends to keep him out of college.
- Crash: The non-Cronenberg one, according to some of the characters.
- Nineteen Eighty-Four features a man in an oppressive dystopia finding a small measure of freedom, only to lose it when the secret police catch him.
Live Action TV
- The Wire does this, albeit in a more nuanced manner than most - the failure of systems, and conflict between individual and group interests, are major themes of the story.
- This is Homey D. Clown's worldview in In Living Color! It reaches an apex in a two-part sketch (played out over two episodes) in which he is convinced by white ad executives to go in a Lighter and Softer direction, becoming a mascot for a cereal brand. He is so successful that he eventually gets an audience with The Man himself as a result. However, rather than kissing his ring Homey bops him over the head, and reveals that his "selling out" was all an I Surrender, Suckers gambit to get the opportunity to bop The Man, whereupon he walks away from stardom on their terms and returns to his old Angry Black Man / Monster Clown ways.
Mythology and Religion
- This trope is as old as the concept of oppression is understood by humanity. Central to Gnostic cosmology is that the God of the material universe, who the Gnostics call the Demiurge and is but a pale imitation of the true God, is very evil, as He keeps people from succeeding in breaking out of the prison that is reality and thus from achieving true wisdom. More mainstream Christians take this view of Satan and demons.
- Satanists (the non-Hollywood kind) believe that God intended to keep us ignorant and subservient to Him, and that the serpent provided us with true free will through the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
- In Sinfest, Lil' E accuses Jesus of being a tool for this. Jesus ignores him. Lil' E is annoyed.
- Zahard's monarchy in Tower of God. It especially has a tendency to go against Irregulars and princesses in love.