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Monday, July 7, 2014

SNOWPIERCER: A Planet Earth and Humanity Allegory

Yesterday was esoteric and maybe even arcane.  Today, allegorical.

I saw a movie yesterday, Snowpiercer, ranked this week as #16.  This is an American-Korean film with a lot of Caucasian actors, shot in Austria and handled by the Weinstein brothers.  Rotten Tomatoes reviewers loved it (94%), while the general populace gave it a 75% rating.  Considering that the latest Transformers, #1, got 18% and Tammy, #2, 23%, not bad at all.  Obviously, weekend box office ratings don't necessarily relate to quality of film.

Chris Evans was stressed, John Hurt philosophic, Song Kang-ho sententious and Ed Harris controlled.  Tilda Swinton was incredible and not the Tilda Swinton you saw with George Clooney in Burn After Reading and with Brad Pitt in Benjamin Button:

Bong Joon-ho directed the flick.  He eight years ago was responsible for the popular sci-fi monster film, The Host, which starred the same Song Kang-ho (and some local others who came back for the more recent effort).  As the trailer is evasive, here is that monster with Kang-ho:

There are no monsters and two themes in Snowpiercer:  class struggle and global warming.  Note the cold clime to the left. How can that be global heating?  Well, in 2014 a geoengineering solution went haywire and the world froze, killing everyone but those remaining survivors hurtling through the tundra on a super train that takes a year to circle the globe.  The rebellious poor live in the back and comfortable rich in the front, with cars in-between dedicated to service, protection and the enjoyment of life: discotheque, greenhouse, opium-like den with a high tech smelling agent, elegant dining and so on.    Scarily similar to 15 Craigside.  There is a melange of weirdness, beauty, irrationality, violence, dystopia and elegance that works.  The ending killed almost everyone, but was definitely hopeful, with a clearly warming environment.  While they could have found a more meaningfully moralistic title, Snowpiercer, nevertheless, is the best movie I've seen this year.

What made the film meaningful for me was this allegorical tale involving that train (analogous to Planet Earth) and the occupants (or Humanity).  As chief blogger, depending on the day, I play different roles to protect Planet Earth and save Humanity (note the title at the top of this page).  I identify with the different characters and day after day careen from a solution for the homeless problem to dining on foie gras, from the 10% simple solution for peace to the stupidity of the F-35 joint strike fighter.  Just about five years ago my HuffPo was entitled Geoengineering of Climate Change.  Then I hopped a plane for my annual around the world adventure.   Terrible carbon footprint.

While my intentions are generally humanitarian, I remain a collage of contradictions, and so does the movie.  However, we're both doing fine.  Really.  Can't say the same for Planet Earth and Humanity.

Super Typhoon Neoguri is now at 150 MPH and strengthening into a Category 5:

However, the latest projection shows this mega-storm now mostly missing Naha today, with the eye instead very close to Miyakojima, the solar island of Japan.  Then, weakening some back to a Category 4, slamming into Kyushu, with the eye now possibly over Kumamoto.  Unfortunately, totally unrelated to Neoguri, Kyushu this past week was inundated with heavy rains, up to 10 inches around Kagoshima and 6 inches over Nagasaki, the heaviest in 50 years.  Then computer models predict Neoguri heading for Niigata on western Honshu and, finally, the east side of Hokkaido. 

It only last year Super Typhoon Haiyan over the Philippines was the strongest tropical cyclone at 195 MPH to ever make landfall, causing up to $6 billion in damages and killing more than 6,000.


1 comment:

Marlene Detierro said...

There's a righteous savagery to this movie that's almost but not quite obscured by the lushness of its imagined world.

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