Reflecting Upon Movies Portraying the End of the World

Source: Michelle Buchman on

The first film I watched this week was a short film, La Jetée, in which a man is taken through a journey of his memories from the past and present, and is then taken to the future all while being a part of something that seems to be some type of psychological test. The main character is one of a few survivors trying to stay alive, literally, under Paris after a nuclear destruction. Instead of being a movie that you expect in which it’s 24-frames-per-second is watched as a constant video stream, this film is made up of multiple still images, almost as if you are reading a picture book with a narrator telling you everything that has happened and is happening.

La Jetée was very interesting. I had never watched a film like this before. Honestly, I kept getting confused as to if I was in the unnamed man’s dreams or if I was watching what happened to him after he escaped this experiment chamber. However, I did find it interesting that when the man was dreaming, he would see everything and move clearly. Then, he would suddenly vanish. In a matter of seconds, he would return to his dream world where the same woman, who seemed to be his love interest, would be sitting there waiting for him to return. You know how when you are having a really good dream, but you wake up too early and don’t get to know what happened? I hate that. I always wish I could go back and finish the dream. The man didn’t always reappear in the same location, but he always saw and spent time with the woman who was there.

Source: The Road (2009)

The second film I watched this week was The Road (2009) directed by John Hillcoat. I watched the trailer for this movie and was not so sure about it from the looks of it. It looked like it was going to be severely graphic and violent. However, I was very surprised. There was violence and it was somewhat graphic, but it was so much more enticing than I expected. Just when I thought all of their problems were solved, or that they were finally safe, I was thrown a curve-ball.

In this film, a father and son, who are never named, must survive through the post-apocalyptic world they have been thrown into. This GIF above illustrates how there is literally nothing left in their world. Shortly after this shot in the movie ends, the man/father looks at the fire and says “It’s like it used to be when the sun came out.” Another quote that becomes a theme in this movie is when the man/father says to the boy “You have to keep carrying the fire.” The boy then asks, “What fire?” The man responds, “The fire inside you.” This quote is something that really struck me in a way as expressing that no matter how bad life gets, even if you have nothing, keep that light inside of you going, no matter what.

Also in this film, the man’s wife, and son’s mother, left them and died somewhere unknown. It is only the two of them left to survive. They encounter cannibals who they must protect themselves from. They also face starvation, until they happen upon a bunker stocked with enough food to feed an army. However, there troubles do not end there. They are robbed, nearly killed, and learn to trust the last people alive on earth after the apocalypse. I won’t spoil anything because the story is constantly changing and surprising you around ever corner! If you are looking to watch this movie, I definitely recommend it. You can find it on Netflix!

One thought on “Reflecting Upon Movies Portraying the End of the World

  1. Great GIF choice. Can you tell us anything about making it. I think it’s both a powerful moment in the film (imagine if an inferno like this was your only way of remembering the warmth/light of the sun) and also a powerfully shot moment, too — the silhouettes of the two against the fire makes a strong visual statement. I also like the whole idea of fire which I hadn’t thought about before. The fire we see here is out-of-control, but the father is referring to a different kind of fire. A self-contained fire that serves as the source of energy they both need to keep going.

    Nice reflection!

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