It hasn’t escaped many people that what is happening today in society parallels many a story line or movie that has come out in the last four or five decades. When is it that art stops imitating life and life takes over the imitation? And when in that does it then become reality and stop being imitation at all?
You may or may not be familiar with these films, but they have popped back into memory into the last year and a half as relevant. I’m not sure how well this blog piece will turn out, as it’s not a review of these films, but rather an observation of them and what I took from them.
V for Vendetta – (2005) It seemed obvious to me that this was a pretext to a possible shift in society, personally though I had no idea it would be so very close to the truth. Apart from someone coming to save the day, those parts in films I worked out long ago were to make you sit back and wait for a hero, a saviour. So it didn’t have to be you. That’s where it is just fiction I am afraid. But you have to admit if you have watched it, there are starkly obvious warning signs that once at the whim of madness and personal agendas, sense and reason are dismissed and it takes a dark turn.
They Live – (1988) Oddly this film passed me by for many a decade until a few years ago. I thought it was great (not just for the rather long fight scene which was awesome), but by how revealing and again, obvious it was. I grew up knowing there was manipulation everywhere, marketing tactics and brainwashing techniques, but I learnt this from reading and seeing. And slightly of having the feeling that some ‘people’ really weren’t like me, at all. So that movie was a instant win for me, and seems many others noticed it too.
Enemy of The State – (1998) A look at how easy it is through means of monitoring and surveillance, to control, destroy or eliminate someone. And we are 20 years on from that film now, and we know they must have had various tech capabilities like that for a while before we ever get to see the mock version.
The Island – (2005) This is not a comfortable watch really. It’s one of my favourites, but the premise had me realising what we were really viewed as, and my fears of underground cities being populated by people who didn’t know they were captive, became visually represented in that movie. There will be a follow up blog to this one which will reference this movie again, and another on the list, and it is a true horror. And one talked about not in a movie, but in real life, by people in charge decades ago now.
Logans Run – (1976) Another one that passed by but was watched a few years ago. A controlled society where each person is given an expiry date of 30 years old, no questions, no good reasoning, but lots of effort put into maintaining the charade. Need I say more, I got the point of it very quickly.
X-Files Movie – (1998) The virus one. Strange discovery, a black liquid that is actually a virus and can manipulate its host. Sounds rather like graphene oxide now we know more about that, and the idea of an alien race either already being amongst us, or trying to assimilate us keeps popping up as a theme over and over. Make your own mind up on that, the jury is still out for me.
Book of Eli – (2010) A stark and bleak look at where we could easily be in only a generation. But the interesting things about that film, and a few others, is the non-explanation of what actually happened to cause everything to just stop or change. An event, a bright light, a catastrophe, and then the forthcoming collapse of society, but all very vague about what led to it, or a very quick montage, to make you think it happens overnight.
The Matrix – (1999) We all knew this would on the list, surely. And will be on the other post too, but for this one it’s going to be the concept which many related to. Of being trapped in the construct of society which is dictated by rules and systems. Some can and easily do navigate those systems being aware of them and not, and some people don’t or can’t. But it also tried to generalise reality and the human experience as something you can quantify and replicate. My experience has been that everyone appears to be living in their own version of reality first, and then we are all taking part in a second shared version of reality. Could be the second one is the matrix, but the first one is down to each person, dual reality.
Dark City – (1998) Quite out there for an idea, but a good one. Having your mind controlled and changed depending on what they want to study, having your environment constantly altered and sleep controlled. There is much more to it behind that though, which goes with the idea that we are not from where we have ended up. That we are searching for ourselves, well some of us are. The start of the film has him ‘waking up’, from the illusion, and for the longest time, despite all being part of it, others cannot see it.
Tank Girl – (1995) A simple yet effective film. It’s the future (set in only 2033) – and there is no water and what there is, is being controlled, by one corporation. Therefore, they control the people. It’s really that simple.
The Truman Show – (1998) Someone’s life moulded and controlled from birth. Made out to be a happy entertaining affair, that it’s ok to do that as long as millions are entertained and distracted from living their lives too. So many lives wasted. It’s a sad film to me. And I am part of that sadness for the number of times I watched it and wasted my own while doing it. I learnt of a study they did decades ago – where they separated triplets and had them adopted into different families so they could study nature versus nurture. They kept visiting each of them throughout their lives, keeping it a secret they had siblings. We know they do these things, but that doesn’t mean we have to agree with them or accept them as right. Here is a bit more info on that if interested – Three Identical Strangers.
Soylent Green (1973) – I haven’t actually seen this film, and only heard of it last year. Look it up, I get the feeling it should be on this list.
There are many others with a virus storyline, or of societal control and we know these are not new concepts at all. But what is new is to see them roll out into reality, in real time. Not condensed into an hour and a half, with no pause button, no off switch or end in sight. When I watched films and thought of the idea, I had not considered they would all happen at once, overlayed, so that elements of each would appear. Now I feel foolish to have not considered it, it seems so obvious. It’s a long-drawn-out odd state of affairs, and it’s anyone’s guess which road it will go down from here.