ltmurnau: (CX)
[personal profile] ltmurnau
... ohhh pleasedontsuck pleasedontsuck....

From this morning's CBC:

Filmmaker Ben Wheatley is 'a cup of tea away from anarchy'
British director's new film, High-Rise, explores the intersection of condo life and class warfare
By Matt Meuse, CBC News Posted: Apr 16, 2016 8:00 AM PT Last Updated: Apr 16, 2016 8:00 AM PT

"They say you're only two meals away from anarchy," British director Ben Wheatley tells On the Coast host Gloria Mackarenko.

"You know, I like to eat. I'm probably about a cup of tea away from anarchy, usually."

Wheatley's new film, High-Rise, tells the twisted story of a utopian condo complex on the outskirts of a gentrifying city, and its rapid descent into chaos.

The transformation takes three months in the film. But in real life, Wheatley reckons it would be much quicker. In the aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis, he realized he only had a day's worth of food in his house, and no real cash or valuables.

"I started looking around at the people in the street going, oh, I'd have to fight them, wouldn't I, for food," he said, laughing. "It would collapse really fast."

The film is based on a novel written by English author J. G. Ballard in the 1970s. Tom Hiddleston stars as Dr. Robert Laing, a resident of the titular High-Rise.

The book was speculative fiction at the time, but Wheatley finds it to be remarkably prescient.

"When I reread the book in my mid-40s, I realized that it wasn't predictive science fiction anymore, it was much more like I was reading pages out of a newspaper," he said. "It was a bit depressing."

To capture the feel of the novel, the film is set in a sort of alternate-history "super 70s," as Wheatley describes it — an ambiguous, highly-stylized representation of the era.

As if to highlight this, the film ends with an archival monologue from former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, whose right-wing economic policies dominated British politics in the 80s.

"Hearing Thatcher in the air [at the end of the film] is like the ending of John Carpenter's The Thing," he said, referencing a classic 80s horror film with a similarly bleak ending. "When I hear that voice, I get a slight twinge of fear. I find her disconcerting and terrifying."

"It's saying that the whole thing is cyclical and it will start again. And we have the hindsight of knowing what's going to happen next."

Parallels with modern Vancouver

The city in the film is implied as London, which is currently facing housing affordability problems not unlike Vancouver's. Prices are surging in both cities, and many blame investors who use real estate as a way of making and storing money.

Wheatley said the practice of treating real estate primarily as an investment has a devastating impact on cities.

"I always think of it as a bit like when these investors buy Van Goghs and stick them in a vault somewhere," he said. "The art gets turned into money, becomes abstracted and then put away, and it no longer serves the point it had in the first place. So, you know, if you do that to a city, you basically kill it."

"And what happens when no one can afford to live in the city? Do we all have to live on the outskirts and just look to it like Oz or something in the distance? I don't know, it's terrifying."

High-Rise was screened Friday night as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival, with a wider Canadian release on May 20. He'll be giving a master class as part of the festival Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Vancity Theatre.

Date: 2016-04-18 09:56 pm (UTC)
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (squee!)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
That looks so awesome.

Date: 2016-04-18 10:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Read the book!

Has the best opening line of a novel I have ever read.

Date: 2016-04-18 10:07 pm (UTC)
sabotabby: (books!)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
It's going on the list. :)

Date: 2016-04-19 03:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The transformation takes three months in the film. But in real life, Wheatley reckons it would be much quicker.

Three months may have been reasonable forty years ago. Today it would be a couple of days at the most. No-one carries significant amounts of cash any more. If the banking system goes down, or the electricity grid goes down, you have no money. No money at all. And no way of getting any. The panic would be starting within hours.

We're terrifyingly dependent on extremely vulnerable technology. People buy their groceries online! If there's no internet they'll just sit there at home waiting for their groceries to arrive. And there'd be no point in going to the supermarket. Everything is ordered electronically. No power means their orders don't turn up, so no food on the shelves.

And how many people today have the skills to do any of these things manually? They wouldn't know where to start.

Of course you could try to leave the city, but without traffic lights and with the subways not working you'd have city-wide traffic jams. The police could not restore order - you don't have small local police stations any more, you have a few big police complexes (that look like fortresses) and without power and without their computers they'd have no way of sending officers where they're needed. They might have emergency generators but as the chaos starts to build how long would they last? How are they going to get more fuel when their generators stop running if traffic is one gigantic city-wide gridlock with thousands more people every hour making it worse trying to flee the cities.

Our whole civilisation is based on the assumption that the electricity will always be flowing and the internet will always be functioning.


ltmurnau: (Default)

September 2017

1011121314 1516

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:03 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios