Friday, August 14, 2009

Children of Men & Blindness

Originally, I was going to treat Children of Men and Blindness as separate entries. Then I reflected upon how well the two go together as both films share a stark view on the government. Furthermore, they both chose a pandemic as the catalyst to catastrophic changes in society. If you enjoyed reading 1984, I think you will like both COM and Blindness.

COM, women become infertile, no newborns for 18 years. The society is plagued with problems and chaos; governments fail; UK becomes the last standing country with a totalitarian government and a stern police force. So many political, religious, humanitarian issues are packed into this film. Many times these issues are obvious to spot in the film like reference to Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Other topics are sometimes more subtle like all the allusions to religion throughout the movie. The film almost becomes like an I spy game.

In addition to the allusions, references, which I enjoyed, I also liked the character developments. Clive Owen plays a compelling antipathist who becomes an unlikely hero. Claire-Hope Ashitey, the actress who plays Kee, is a naive, immature girl who grows into a determined young woman risking her life for her child and for the survival of humanity. Michael Caine also did a fantastic job as a John Lennon/Jesus look-alike. It's too bad that Julianne Moore has only a small role in the film. There are just too many great things that I can say about the movie, but I am afraid this post will get too long...

Blindness is very similar to COM on numerous levels. Blindness features Julianne Moore as well, this time in the leading role (The film features many other recognizable faces including Gael Garcia Bernal, Sandra Oh, Mark Ruffalo, and Danny Glover). Both films are based on books of the same titles. Jose Saramago, who wrote Blindness, the book, was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature. In both films, unlikely pandemics change the lives of the characters.

COM, I enjoyed this film on many levels but not so much on the character developments. I loved the techniques used to convey blindness in the film such as the color white, flashes, fuzziness, and spottiness. The director gives you the vision of the actors and actresses through the filming techniques. I also loved the setting of the film. You never learn where these characters live. The film feels truly international, not only because of the cast, but because of the collection of cities where the film was shot. This use of cities gives the sense that no one can escape the disease no matter where you live.

One difference that I would like to mention is that
COM is more of a political film and Blindness is a philosophical film. I enjoyed both films despite the negative reviews for Blindness. I watched COM twice and liked it even more the second time.

P.S. On a very very last note, I loved, what I thought was, the reference to Judith slaying Holofernes in a scene in

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