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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:57 pm    Post subject: CHILDREN OF MEN Reply with quote

A new thread devoted to what I consider so far the only "mature SciFi" masterpiece of the XXIst century :



According to director Alfonso Cuaron, the film was intended from the very start as the "anti Blade Runner", but interestingly both films are closer than you could imagine on many levels :

Both films are adapted from a novel.
Both films depict dystopian (dying) worlds.
Both main characters are depressed, mid-40 alcoholics.
Decaying towns are overcrowded with lots of immigrants, retroffited cars and kipple / garbage everywhere.
Police forces are obviously Nazi.
Propaganda is everywhere.
The plot revolves around illegal immigrants (and their DNA).
The main theme of both films is : What does it mean to be human ?

CoM even succeeds where BR failed imho : We have empathy for the main characters and feel VERY concerned (even touched) by what happens to them. One could argue that Roy Batty's "Tears in rain" poetry really is touching… yes indeed, it's true… but it happens at the very end of BR, a very cold (yet beautiful) film where feelings are banned, or at least often muffled. (I'd want to make it clear I don't despise BR here !)


CoM could also, as a post 9/11 film, be seen as a kind of "European version of Minority Report"… I'll try to develop this idea later… and also try to show how it reflects some aspects of the world we live in. (I'm afraid there'll be some politics included in this part of the thread, hope it'll be OK with everyone as long as every opinion will be expressed with respect for others)

I even spotted here and there references to films such as A Clockwork Orange, novels like Day of the Triffids, famous canvas like Bocklin's Isle of the Dead… and even The Holy Bible !

I just hope there'll be enough interested to see what we can learn from this masterpiece.

Stay tuned, more soon !

Fred
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joberg
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another interesting subject Fred...eager to see the result of course.
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK JB !

First, we're going to talk about some hidden aspects of the world depicted in CoM.

It tuns out that I bought an original production used script of the film a couple of years ago on eBay UK but I never had the time to read it until recently…
I must say that I was amazed by some aspects of the world depicted in its pages, most of them barely noticeable on screen ! Some are too subtle while others were altered or erased upon filming.

Let's take for example the "Zeds".

I guess you don't know what I'm talking about here… and I can't blame you because I didn't know what a "Zed" was 2 weeks ago, even if I saw the film many times since its theatrical release !

Let's start with some screencaps :

Do you remember the gang that threw stones at the commuter train Theo Faron travels in at the beginning of the film ?



Do you remember the wild bunch that attacks the Fishes' car in the middle of the woods ?



Do you remember the Minister of Arts' weird son, Alex ?



Yes… They're all "Zeds".
The script describes them as a sub-society of the last generation, the generation whose destiny is to see the end of the world.
Forget about the "X" or "Y" generations, time has come for the "Z" generation : The "Zeds".

Some very interesting aspects of their sub-culture can be glimpsed here and there in the film, we'll talk about that in my next post.

Fred
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joberg
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good one on nabbing that script Fred...now we can read and watch the images at the same time (didn't know about the Zeds btw) Cool
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andy
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting. Whose name(s) is on the script BTW? I know someone who worked on one version of it.

Andy
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

andy wrote:
Whose name(s) is on the script BTW?


Alfonson Cuaron & Timothy J. Sexton

Who is your friend Andy, if you don't mind me asking ?

Fred
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Mike Rush
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slightly off-topic, but that road through the woods in your grabs is part of Bourne Wood, a frequently-used location in Surrey.

It was made famous in Gladiator and since then has turned up in more films and TV than I can remember, including Children of Men. My wife and I go there sometimes because of Gladiator, but now when you visit you're getting many locations for the price of one... Smile
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joberg
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't they shot some scene for Harry Potter in Bourne Wood?
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Mike, it's always interesting to hear such anecdotes !



Fred
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andy
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark Fergus. I am real close friends with his sister. I have never met him in person though. He has been more famous as of late for "Iron Man", and "Cowboys and Aliens". He had worked on one of the early scripts for "CoM", and when they reworked it, they had taken his name off, even though they still essentially used his treatment. Luckily he got his name back in on for the movie credits, and the Oscar nomination for the script. The same thing happened for him with his script for "A Scanner Darkly" but he never got his recognition back on that one. It is a common thing in Hollywood I hear, but now that his name is out there, I have a feeling it won't happen as much to him.

If you get a chance, check out his directorial debut "First Snow" with Guy Pierce. I actually helped with posters that he used for his entrance into film festival competitions, before they had others done for a limited release. It is also on Netflix now and DVD.

Andy
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting, Andy !

Do you think Mark Fergus would be OK to share his draft with us here ? (I ask jus tin case but I don't even know if his contract with the production company would allow him to do so)

Who knows ?

Fred
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you remember when Jasper plays what he calls "Zen music" for Theo ?

The first time I saw this scene I thought "WOW, pretty violent for something supposed to be Zen !"
Now I understand why it disturbed me : According to the script, Jasper was playing "Zed music" ! SInce references to Zeds were erased from the film, it was logical to turn "Zed" into "Zen", excepted that I guess they kept the track initially considered for the scene…



For those who don't know the film (and for those who'd like to hear it again), a link to the track aforementioned :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSBKGTrsTV4

It's full of cries & wiplashes… and it was originally a track by APHEX TWIN ! (do you remember the great Aphex Twin videos by Chris Cunningham ???)
The weird thing is that Richard James (aka Aphex Twin) definitely looks like a Zed in this photo :



Coming next : Zed body art !

Fred

PS : It would be interesting to determine if Michael Caine said "Zed" during the shooting of that scene and later recorded "Zen" in post-synchro or not.
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joberg
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw the film when it came out and I completely missed that one...as for the lines, probable that they looped some of the dialogue back in the booth Wink
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Rush wrote:
Slightly off-topic, but that road through the woods in your grabs is part of Bourne Wood, a frequently-used location in Surrey.


More CHILDREN OF MEN filming locations after the jump :

http://www.ukonscreen.com/fehhbdb-Children-of-Men

Fred
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joberg
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff Fred...thanks for the link
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're welcome JB !

OK, I was unable to reach one of the make-up ladies responsible for creating the tattoos displayed in this post, too bad because I would have liked to learn more about them, how they were designed and why...

To me they look a lot like old school graffitis of the late 70's / early 80's, they have a very retro look, the kind of graffiti that you could have seen on NY subway wagons of that era.

They also have that Punk / Techno vibe...

The only time we see some of them clearly in the film is when we discover Alex, the minister of art's son. He has a CRAZZ tattoo on the neck, a star on a cheek, various symbols on his hands. They look very wild in this sophisticated environment. Since Zeds are desperate and wild, it makes sense to have them wear wild symbols that represent themselves and their state of mind.
Some are more than wild, they're extreme... Look at these Zed photos for example, they even wear tattos on their face :

ZED 1 : A kind of David Bowie / Aladdin Sane bolt and an anarchist circled "A" symbol on the front, F.T.W. (for What The Fuck I presume) on the cheek, a tear below an eye, a "Satan" cross, knife and self-made barcode on the neck... a mix of Rock'n'roll, anarchist / situationist and mobster symbols... (I wouldn't like to be in his shoes, lol !)

ZED 2 : A star on the cheek, something that looks like "BI2LL" on the front, an unidentified tattoo on the neck.

ZED 3 : Maori tattoo inspired war paint, star on the cheek, tear below the eye.

ZED 4 : A complete mess, but the dotted line around his skull cap made me instantly think of similar dotted lines tattooed around the neck of french bad boys and anarchists of the early XXth century, when the Guillotine was still used to those sentenced to death. Does it mean that he's brain dead (or willing to be) ???

Anyhow here are the pics, feel free to comment and/or add your own thoughts.

Coming next : An unexpected Zed...

Fred


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting take and research on those tats Fred... the FTW was first used in Punk culture of the '70s and '80s (means: Fuck The World). I'm sure others could chime in...particularly about one of the last subject with the "dots" on his forehead...seems that they're squares with a letter inside? And yes, you're right about their styles: very taggers and very grafitti like
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

joberg wrote:
the FTW was first used in Punk culture of the '70s and '80s (means: Fuck The World)


Damn, you're right, should have guessed !!!!!!!

Shocked

The painted / tattooed faces also reminded me of Philippe Druillet's LA NUIT ("The Night") comic book from the late 70's. The "heroes" have words such as KILL, FUCK, FUCKED, END, SHOOT (I directly translate them in english) and hearts, syringes, skulls painted on their faces.
The story is as dark as CoM... (Druillet partially drew it in the hospital where his wife was dying from cancer)

Fred
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, indeed, very nihilistic and bleak but understandable, seeing that the loss of his wife tainted the book... not with a happy ending but also the realisation that the hero knows, before everybody else, that their quest is futile from the get go...death wins everytime Exclamation
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

joberg wrote:
Yes, indeed, very nihilistic and bleak but understandable, seeing that the loss of his wife tainted the book... not with a happy ending but also the realisation that the hero knows, before everybody else, that their quest is futile from the get go...death wins everytime Exclamation


Yep JB, definitely worth a read !
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