Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Possibility of Hope: a DVD Feature Worth Watching

Not knowing what it was at the time, I watched a featurette on the Children of Men DVD that I purchased yesterday, entitled The Possibility of Hope. Since the film's packaging looked thrown together, I wasn't expecting much from the features on the DVD. But because it's an Alfonso Cuaron film, I retained hope that there would be something worthwhile in the special features, so I watched The Possibility of Hope. Now having seen it, I'm convinced that it's one of the best features/documentaries I've seen on a DVD. The film, directed by Cuaron himself, is essentially a series of interviews with scientists, philosophers, and other scholars discussing issues of security, culture, and social structures. Among those interviewed were Slavoj Zizek, James Lovelock, Naomi Klein, and as they were talking, the images of the film depicted factions of global society in ruins, governmental bureacracy, masses of refugees across the world - all seemingly disparate, but sharing a strong connection to the ideas discussed by the various scholars.

This short film is something of a companion piece to Cuaron's visionary film that focuses on all of the issues of the film without ever really discussing the film itself with the exception of a few instances. Overall, these scholars all discuss different theories and approaches to social economy and the problems we face as a "super-culture" of sorts; as members of Earth. These issues range from immigration to war and global warming, but this isn't just another "liberal" treatise on the state of political issues. This short film instead offers perspectives examining the social frameworks and networks that constitute segregated institutions such as nations, religions, and class systems within them. Only when we analyze communication and human interaction at this level will we begin to understand the motivations of the individual members of these cultures and institutions.

In a DVD market which typically offers dumbed down public relations advertisements masquarading as "behind-the-scenes" features," this short documentary film is an insightful inquiry into these issues and a commentary of our global culture. It is a perfect companion to Children of Men, offering an intellectual perspective to the very same concepts that are visually and emotionally explored in Cuaron's fictional film.


Damian said...

That sounds like a fascinating featurette. I loved the movie and have been wanting to watch it again since I first saw it in the theatre, so I'll have to check it out and, while I'm at it, make sure to view "The Possibility of Hope." Incidentally, I agree with you that most behind-the-scenes extras on DVd's (aside from the ones made by Laurent Bouzerau) are really just glorified "commercials" for the movies themselves.

Also, I am very much looking forward to reading what you have to contribute to the Filmmusic Blog-a-thon. :)

Ted Pigeon said...

Bouzerau's documentaries definitely represent the best of what's out there from a "behind the scenes" standpoint. But what I love about this piece so much is that it is unafraid to be intellectually challenging. It's always nice to see how movies are made, but documentaries like this are practically non-existent on DVDs. It came as no surprise when I found out that it was made by Alfonso Cuaron himself.