14th December, 2009
In the second of our guest posts, film-maker Dan Walwin suggests some starting points for building up an Uncivilised filmography. As ever, we would like to hear your thoughts on how the list could be extended.
Lifeboat (1944, Alfred Hitchcock)
Echoes of this can also be found at the conclusion of Shame (Ingmar Bergman, 1968). Chiefly Second World War propaganda, but also illustrates a narrative that James Lovelocks taps into when he writes: ‘Make no mistake, the lifeboat simile is apt; the same problem has faced the shipwrecked: a lifeboat will sink or become impossible to sail if too laden.’
Wages of Fear (1953, Henri-Georges Clouzot)
Features a fairly horrific scene where one of the drivers of the explosive-laden trucks is wading into a pool formed by oil gushing from a severed pipe (caused by another truck exploding), only to fall under its surface and have a leg crushed as the other driver accelerates through the pool in fear of being stuck. Very tense, desperate, and unsentimental.
Woman of the Dunes (1964, Hiroshi Teshigahara)
A man gets tricked into staying overnight with a woman who lives down a pit in the sand dunes, only to find next morning that there is no way of climbing out again, and that to survive they must perpetually dig the sand out of the pit.
The War Game (1965, Peter Watkins)
Filmed as if it were a documentary covering events during and following a nuclear attack on England, this is a harrowing look at the realities of nuclear war and the accompanying breakdown that would follow. Comparable with Threads of 1984.
Stalker (1979, Andrei Tarkovsky)
Seeming to pre-empt the Chernobyl disaster in its myth of ‘the Zone’: ‘Our moods, our thoughts, our emotions, our feelings can bring about change here. (…) But in fact, at any moment it is exactly as we devise it, in our consciousness … everything that happens here depends on us, not on the Zone.’ Three desperate individuals meditate on existence while deeply enveloped in a landscape which is both threatening and offering the hope of salvation.
Time of the Wolf (2004, Michael Haneke)
Unflinching in its dissection of a generic European country following collapse. Disturbing and almost totally grim but, of course, nothing less than to be expected. ‘I believe that the catastrophe story, whoever may tell it, represents a constructive and positive act by the imagination rather than a negative one, an attempt to confront the terrifying void of a patently meaningless universe by challenging it at its own game, to remake zero by provoking it in every conceivable way’ – J.G. Ballard
Dan Walwin is a film-maker who will be curating the cinema space at the forthcoming Dark Mountain Festival
Posted by Paul Kingsnorth on 14 December, 09
Comments: 9 comments - Read them and respond