Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Children of Men - Dir: Alfonso Cuarón

Earlier today I read this exchange between Richard Posner and David Cole about contemporary interpretations of American civil liberties. Then, this evening, I saw The Children of Men. It is currently only playing in one theater in Boston right now but deserves a much larger audience. As J. Hoberman points out in his Village Voice review, the film does not deserve this fate. It says so much about our time that I am still trying to process it all. The film is gorgeous to look at as the screen is filled with cool blues, greys and greens. It maintains this serious mood throughout the film, with little time for jokes (it was funny noticing the former political cartoonist's work as being actually done by Steve Bell, who does cartoons for the Guardian UK newspaper). The audience sat in silence through most of it and actually applauded the film at the end. I haven't seen that happen in a commercial theatre in quite a while. So many aspects of the film recall -- not specifically other films (with the exception, possibly, of Barry Hinds "Threads") but actual news stories, recent events. This is probably why there is little advance notice of this film here. So many images recall political demonstrations in the Middle East and the tortures of Abu Ghraib or Gitmo. The story serves as a sharp reminder of what a society with sharp curbs on civil liberties looks like. [in progress]

Note: Time Out London's interview with the director is quite illuminating.

1 comment:

shoephone said...

I, too, just saw the film today, and it was emotionally harrowing and brilliantly crafted. Still processing all the different themes - unrelenting terror, tribalism, loss of hope, redemption, "faith vs. chance" -and I think it's going to be a while before I have it all straightened out. The images of the dark, bombed out cities are still floating in my brain.

And though it was an utterly serious story, thank goodness there was some bit of much-needed humor interspersed throughout.

The one thing that I couldn't stop thinking while watching it was how it must resemble parts of Iraq, and the daily terror that the Iraqi citizens feel. If the Democrats do nothing else in the next year, they MUST start bringing our young men and women home from this disaster. No more war. No more authoritarianism. No more fascism. No more total disregard for human life. No more.