Friday, 7/6/2018

In closing

Dystopian prospects

In closing


As FILMFEST MÜNCHEN draws to a close, it's appropriate to look into the future. How does it appear? Various films ponder this and come up mostly with bleak scenarios. Yet these dystopias contain important reflections on trends and issues in society.

This year's closing film, ANON by Andrew Niccol, takes the familiar concept of transparent identity a step further. In the not-too-distant future, all personal data is transparent. Via eye implants, everyone is networked in the "ether", a global system that stores information about each individual and everything he does. Every detail of one's life is archived digitally and can be called up via one's eyes. Detective Sal Frieland (Clive Owen) uses this digital memory in his line of work. A killer committing a violent series of murders has been hacking into the eyes of his victims, so that the only images that exist of the crimes are from the perspective of the perpetrator. Is there a way to escape being monitored all the time? The answer, known as Anon, is a glitch in the system. The nameless hacker played by Amanda Seyfried is Anon: she has no identity, no history, and no visibility. She has removed herself from the system in order to live in freedom. Is she more than an image manipulator — a killer, perhaps? Surveillance and the flood of images it produces are by all means current and controversial subjects that are inseparable from the continuing digitalization of our world. At a FILMMAKERS LIVE! discussion at 4 p.m. today, director Andrew Niccol will talk about his film.

A dystopia that's at least as bleak, if less technology-oriented, is found in the Mexican film BUY ME A GUN, showing tonight at 6 p.m. at Sendlinger Tor. In Mexico in the not-too-distant future, large numbers of women are disappearing. Huck wears a shackle and a mask to disguise the fact that she's a girl. She and her drug-addicted father guard a vacant baseball field where the drug dealers meet. At a desert concert for the drug lord, however, everything gets out of control. Will Huck be able to flee the death and chaos that ensue? What's particularly interesting about this submission by Julio Hernández Cordón is the focus on gender distribution. What would happen if women, who traditionally tend to be peace-loving and nurturing, disappeared? What price would humanity pay for this? What responsibility do we have to posterity? What will the future look like? These are questions posed by lots of filmmakers. Many of their works mirror the world we live in with all its shadowy sides and offer impressive points of view that are well worth seeing. Perhaps this will encourage some people to think about the state of the world. And remember: it's always darkest before the dawn.