Does real life inform art, or are we at the point where our media-saturated society is ultimately steered by what we see onscreen? You might as well ask whether the chicken or the egg came first, my friend. Art is as old as human history itself - even the cavepeople found time in their daily plight of survival to draw pictures on their walls. It’s our way of expressing ourselves, as well as our thoughts and impressions of the world around us.
WHITE CHAMBER, a dark tale of attempted revolution, certainly doesn’t require much stretch of the imagination with its setting, a near-future dystopian Great Britain (cough BREXIT cough). In watching the film, it’s painful - and yet somehow kind of theraputic? - to see a possible scenario for our political future. Authoritarian government versus the growing unrest of civilians, that old chestnut. Just look at our own country with conservatives and liberals sliding daily toward their respective extreme poles, making a dystopian civil war seem less a movie plot than a real possibility. This is nothing new - rebellions have been launched in every era of human history. But wow, what does that say about us as a species? As one of the protagonists in WHITE CHAMBER sagely proclaims, “there will be no winners in this war, only survivors.” History has certainly shown us to be fickle, base and yet infinitely complicated beings.
Woof. My point is not to wallow in civil unrest, but rather to marvel at the constant give-and-take cycle between art and real life. The genre of SciFi in particular has provided us with some of the most creative, arresting images of where the future may take us, whether it’s fantastically removed from our current life (still waiting on those flying cars) or disturbingly relatable to the world as it is today. Both avenues offer fascinating insight into what is possible or even probable. Sometimes these visions get really grim and dark, and as I mentioned earlier, art is at its most basic a reflection of, or at the very least informed by, the world we live in. And an immersive medium like film makes these artistic renderings of the future feel all the more real. They’re worth seeing, and they’re worth discussing.
Twisty political thriller WHITE CHAMBER screens #OtherWorlds2018 on Sun 12/9 at 2:40pm!