Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Painting- Day 13

Still trudging along. The closer I get to the "end" the more I realize how much still needs to be fixed. This posting after every painting session was an experiment that I don't think I'm gonna put myself through again. As you can see there is no magic to this. Its just drudgery to keep at it most of the time.

Anyway, last post I gave a little review or summary of my favorite post-apocalyptic film of all time, "A Boy & His Dog". With this post I thought I'd review my second favorite post-apocalyptic movie, "The Quiet Earth". It's from 1985 and was made in New Zealand. The movie opens with Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence) waking up to a city that seems completely deserted and very quiet. Not only does it seem that all the people have disappeared, but we hear no birds and see nothing moving about except for our hero Zac. In the distance there is a fire. Investigating, Zac finds a huge airliner has crashed, but there are no bodies. It seems every other sentient being has simply vanished without a trace.

Zac then heads to his workplace, where we find he's a scientist who has been working on a top secret project. "Project Flashlight", as it is called, has nothing to do with Parliament Funkadelic, but was an experiment to create a global energy grid. Zac speaks into his pocket recorder, "Zac Hobson, July 5th. One: there has been a malfunction in Project Flashlight with devastating results. Two: it seems I am the only person left on Earth." He then goes to a nearby radio station and records a message to play in a loop with his name, address and phone number, asking anyone who hears it to contact him.

The first thirty minutes of this film are the best. There must be something primal about this last man on earth idea. Zac soon "moves up in the world" and takes over a recently vacated mansion. He enjoys the good life for awhile, but soon puts on women's underclothes, goes mad and declares himself president. See the clip below. I never understood where he got all those life size cardboard effigies of famous people from history.

Soon after this, Zac finally meets a another human being. Its a pretty redhead named Joanne. Just when they start hitting it off, and you think that this film might take a romantic turn, there is another twist. A tall Maori named Api enters the picture, creating tension with a sort of love triangle, but it's obvious from the beginning that Joanne prefers Api. Zac soon confesses to them that he may have been partly responsible for the "Effect" that left them all alone, and this only alienates him more from the two "newcomers". We find out that Zac felt so guilty about working on such potentially devastating project as "Project Flashlight", that he tried to commit suicide the evening before the "Effect" happened.

It seems all three of the survivors "died" the moment the "Effect" took place, and that may be why they "survived", if they aren't already dead, and if this isn't all a dream. It gets more ambiguous the more we learn. Finally Zac is convinced that the "Effect" will soon happen again, and that the only way to stop it is to destroy the huge satellite dish at his former workplace. I won't give away the ending, partly because I'm not really sure I understand what happened, but the skyline just before the closing credits was sure interesting.

Now this has to be one of the best "last man on earth" movies there is and maybe one the best films from New Zealand. You know what the best New Zealand film is, don't you? We're you gonna say the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which is partly an American film? No, that's not it. The film I'm thinking of is a horror movie only the folks in New Zealand could think of...

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