Friday, March 30, 2007

Last night, I watched Children of Men for a second time. First time, I had a sour taste in my mouth, and even yelled 'c'mon', when Kee said at the end she would name her child 'Dylan'. So I watched the documentary, and that only has an ancilliary connection to what's in the film. Famous scientists and philosophers, including Zizek, predicting global catastrophes, without (except for Zizek) really even trying to relate to the film, all the while accompanied by stock footage from the set of Children of Men. I think it would be funny if the charatcers said the title of film several times throughout: "We must find the Children of Men." And also thinking and wondering why I keep being reminded of The Golden Child, with Eddie Murphy.

So I have two readings of the film. From the first viewing that it's basicly Raiders of the Lost Ark or Star Wars- a reluctant hero, a precious cargo in the form of a woman/child, explosions/bullets, a repressive regime, dystopian elements as a foreground, rebel forces- but way beyond it's depth in terms of the issues it tries to address. Presenting a horrible future where mass numbers of people are 'fugees' (not to be mistaken for Pras, Lauryn Hill, or Wyclef Jean), it always seems to be cloudy except in rural areas, a plague (in this case a plague of infertility), and all of it as a projection of similarity to present times. But does it really get beyond the usual dystopian future motifs?

The second reading is that all of the above mentioned are problems inherent in any film that situates itself in the really-sucky-future/globalization genre. And to be fair Children of Men fleshes out as much as can expected in the span of two or so hours. There's an acceleration in the movie of themes that are already present in the world, paranoia over 'Terrorists', mass numbers of refugees. It's just, I'm bothered when a film actively solicits heavy verisimilitude, a romantic backstory, and action-packed technical wizardry all in one shot. I guess that's what I mean by being beyond it's depth. The most troublesome area of the film is how it addresses the refugees and how they came to be refugees. There are just kind of there. A whole lot of catastrophic shit happened and there they are. I mean it's important to look at a refugee situation as a result of specfic events and not just as all these people, no?

And the hype over the technical virtuosity of the film isn't unwarranted. (The tracking shots! They are impressive.) It's not hard to see that this'll be one of those 'Cult Films', lotsa websites, clubs etc. springing up around it. I would recommend seeing it. It would be interesting to see what others think.

1 comment:

Robert J said...

Hauser -- my friend Matt has a movie blog and wrote this: