Children of Men (2006) 109 minutes
directed by Alfonso Cuarón
As you may know, I have been spending a lot of time in dystopian/futurist/time-travel narratives lately, but the choice of this film is — strangely enough — not related to that focus.
Not long ago I read Mark Fisher’s 2009 book Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? as part of my more recent exploration of larger anti-utopian structures and systems, trying to figure out our world and how to resist its uglier aspects. On the very first page of this book, Fisher references Children of Men as presenting a world that is not a typical cinematic totalitarian dystopia, but one in which “the normalization of crisis produces a situation in which the repealing of measures brought in to deal with an emergency become unimaginable.” It presents instead a world that “seems more like an extrapolation or exacerbation of ours than alternative to it….ultra-authoritarianism and Capital are by no means incompatible.”
Of particular interest to me is his identification of this cinematic world as one in which “action is pointless; only senseless hope makes sense.”
As a long-time subscriber to the fascination and latent power of the senseless, the unspeakable, and the unimagined, I am very curious about how this movie might present this senseless hope in the face of ideologically motivated desensitization.
Plus, this is a really great relevant movie to watch together with others in a room.