Dystopian Cinema

Can’t you just feel the joi de vivre seeping out through the soles of your feet as you scan these images? Your eyes desperately scan the colours, the fashions, the faces, searching, searching in vain, for a sign of hope.

I don’t really know what these films are, though the titles flashed up multiple times during each trailer. I’ve blanked them. They seem without hope. They make me feel like a visitor from another world, where everything is peaceful. And I’ve arrived in the middle of a football match.

Even when the colour isn’t completely faded like a postcard sun-bleached in its rack, and the aspect ratio isn’t fucked up beyond all recovery, the images have a weird depressive affect. This is the kind of entertainment humanity likes. You like buy feelthy postcard, yes?

In this world, things are much harder than in the afterlife. In this world, you’re on your own.

Well, we were put here to suffer.

Here, have some more. I can take it if you can.

Put on a happy face.

Pain in chest. Numbness down one side. Is that good?

Lo! Carrying on the dystopian sixties-seventies theme, Tim Concannon delivers a late entry for The Late Show, delving deep into the mind-altering career of British sitcom star Richard O’Sullivan. Well, these things have to be done. The result, in this case, is quite brilliant.

4 Responses to “Dystopian Cinema”

  1. lukeaspell Says:

    Love Tim’s piece, but do you know why it’s showing as having been published on November 2nd last year?

  2. I think I can solve this one. I started writing it last year and didn’t finish it till a few days ago.

  3. bensondonald Says:

    There’s a special grim magic to depressing films that are intended to be comic or titillating.

    From the dawn of sound there were shorts and features that feel like they were meant to be projected on bedsheets in barns for audiences deemed undeserving of “real” movies. Some of the Keaton Educationals radiate that sadness (Columbia offered at least a sprinkle of studio prosperity. You knew there was a commissary with a hot lunch for Buster).

    Cheap horror and noir are arguably supposed to be oppressive, so their direness may enhance the effect. But when overripe non-actors deliver non-entendres in a bargain beach flick, or community theater types belabor already pathetic material, the reaction is more pity at the visible delusion and/or desperation.

    Later they’d be shown on all the local television stations during the wee hours, when one was alone and awake with a miserable cold. Their last gasp came when public domain orphans filled the VHS and disc bins, with amateurish misleading covers.

  4. We’re knee-deep in this kind of material for our next project, but I can’t tell you about it yet…

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