On this month’s Movie Whisperer we want to look at the post-apocalypse world, a world of hunger, despair, rebels and steampunk aesthetics.
When you think about the word apocalypse linked to cinema, you automatically think about the numerous disaster movies made though the years like “2012”, “Twister”, “Independence Day” , “Deep Impact”, “Armageddon” etc. This month’s Oneg theme is “Apocalypse Now” and the first thought goes of course to the 1979 film by Francis Ford Coppola of the same name about the Vietnam war.
MELANCHOLIA, Lars von Trier, 2010
One of von Trier’s best work to date, Melancholia’s inspiration came from a depressive episode Lars suffered. The film is divided in two acts, titled “Justine” and “Claire”. During the first act we witness to the wedding reception for Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and her husband Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) organized by her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg). We soon realize Justine has a very dysfunctional family, and that she’s not very happy even if it’s the day of her wedding.
During the second act, with a very depressed Justine now living with her sister’s family, we discover that a planet called Melancholia is approaching earth and that this episode will affect everything, from nature to the mind of Justine and of the people around her.
Kirsten Dunst won the Best Actress Award in Cannes for her work on the film.
SNOWPIERCER, Bong Joon-Ho, 2013
Based on the French graphic novel “Le transperceneige” , “Snopiercer” (an English language South Korean-Czech film) is set in a post apocalypse world and it takes place aboard on a train (Snowpiercer) that never stops, as the earth became entirely frozen as a result of a climate engineering to stop global warning went wrong. In a way to replicate the real world, the elite lives in the front of the train in luxury, the lower-class passengers on the other hand lives in at the end of it in very poor conditions.
A revolution against the elite began with Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) as a leader. The film also stars Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton and Octavia Spencer among others.
Snopiercer received critical acclaim and it remain the most expensive Korean production ever with a budget of $40 million.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, George Miller, 2015
“Mad Maxi: Fury Road” is the fourth installment and at the same time a reboot of the Mad Max Saga franchising that began in 1979 with a film starring Mel Gibson. The story is set in a post apocalypse world where planet earth has become a desert following an energy crisis, and the civilization has collapsed. The film tells the story of a woman (Furiosa) that rebels against a tyrant and that is in search for her homeland with the aid of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshiper, and a drifter named Max. It’s a film about survival, with gorgeous visuals and cinematography, and great acting by a stunning Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy and Nichola Hoult.
The film’s steampunk aesthetics will also blown your mind. A black and white version, titled Mad “Max: Black & Chrome” was released the following year by director George Miller, who think it’s the best version of the film. The film received ten Academy Award nomination, including Best Picture and Best Director, winning in the end 6 technical awards.
AKIRA, Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988
Based on Otomo’s manga of the same name, “Akira” is probably one of the most famous anime (japanese cartoon) ever created. It’s still so famous that its iconic motorcycle was also included on Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” last year. In “Akira”, set in a dystopia 2019 in Neo-Tokyo, we witness the story adventures of a biker gang leader called Kaneda and his close friend Tetsuo.
Tetsuo gets involved in a government secret project known as Akira and Kaneda will try to save him, not before running into a group of anti-government activists, politicians, irresponsible scientists and a powerful military leader. “Akira” is an animated science fiction film that has influenced numerous works in animation, film and tv like the anime “Ghost In The Shell”, “Battle Angel Alita”, “The Matrix”, “Kill Bill” and so on. Kanye West also paid homage to “Akira” in his video for “Stronger”.
BLADE RUNNER 2049, Dennis Villeneuve, 2017
The sequel of one of the most important science fiction film ever, Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982), “2049” is set thirty years after the events of the first film. Starring Ryan Gosling as K, a replicant that works for the Los Angeles Police Department as a “blade runner”, an officer who hunts and “retires” (kills) rebel replicants. At a protein farm where he went to “retire” Sapper Morton, K discovers a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos.
K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford, who reprise his original role from the 1982 film), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. “Blade Runner 2049” wasn’t a box office hit (like the original), but received critical acclaim and at the 90th Academy Awards won for Best Cinematography and Best Special Visual Effects.