Superman and Santa on a circus train

crumbs (2015) is the first science fiction film set in post-apocalyptic Ethiopia. This is the phrase most often used to describe him or, at least, one that is often found in the (relatively scarce) information available online – the relic of his meteoric passage through the festival circuit. The etiquette appeal may be a promotional motive rather than a descriptive intent; There’s something fun, from a “Western” perspective, in repeating that ship that’s used to classify weirdness. In fact, the film resulted from a more diverse genetic authority: it was shot in Ethiopia, with Amharic dialogues, an English title, a Spanish director, and an obscure Finnish co-production. Even the label “post-apocalypse” hides more than it reveals, and doesn’t really help calibrate expectations. of its origins, and a review of all its central documents (from last man From Mary Shelley to god of flies From Golding, to the many zombie disasters), this genre has always been a kind of strategic reserve for anthropological pessimism, specializing in the presupposition of the inevitable generalized social decline as the inevitable consequence of the collapse of existing structures of social organization. The basic idea is that 15 minutes after the ATM stops working, everyone will be walking around bare-chested, drawing their faces and spears in their hands.

Nothing could be further from the innocent carelessness in which he is crumbs Wandering through its uninhabited landscapes, Olympians are unconcerned about the various logistical challenges of survival. Life after the apocalypse here doesn’t mean a relentless struggle for suddenly scarce resources – perhaps because scarcity was already a prerequisite, and thus familiar. There are obvious physical threats to the protagonist, but his aura is less close to violence. crazy max From pastoral farce Woodhousewhere the greatest danger is protocol indiscretion or a bicycle accident.

The centerpiece of the story is Candy, who lives with his fiancée Birdie in a salon bowling In ruins, surrounded by green meadows and not far from the desert of abandoned mines and scrap yards, where Kandy spends his day searching for valuables and trying not to be robbed by bandits equipped with swastikas and crosses. His heritage is simple, the crown jewel is a vinyl record of Michael Jackson, which he keeps to fund his wedding one day. In the sky is a spacecraft in the form of a strange human hand, the origin of which has never been explained, but which Kandy believes is a relic of its home planet. The ship looks as uninhabited and forgotten as anything else, until it begins to show signs of life. At the same time, the ball-returning mechanism in the hall begins to send encrypted messages, the source of which appears to be a sullen Santa Claus. Candy decides to visit a “sorceress” who advises him to go on a heroic journey to discover his destiny. Byrdie bids him farewell, and offers him a spell: a plastic sword made not by Mattel but by the legendary Carrefour—”the last great artist,” she explains.

This is, by the way, the central joke of the film, which seems to want to be its dominant “theme”. The artifacts we perceive as assembly line products of our popular culture are given new and transcendent meanings. There is a recurring sequence in which the mysterious owner of the pawn shop negotiates prices for the various icons brought to him, earnestly telling his invented stories: “Ninja Turtles …. made industrially in the 3rd century, from rubber mold and acrylic paint … Mulligon warriors used it as an amulet .. …Michael Jackson Vinyl…It is said that there was another Michael Jackson before the end of the world…Maybe he was a farmer in what they call the United States…their music was used to give courage to warriors before battle.” The entire universe is guarded by these temporary deities. Birdie awoke from a frantic and forsaken dream, and he addresses a spontaneous prayer to a group of false saints or popes: “Einstein IV, Saint Pablo Picasso, Stephen Hawking III, Justin Bieber VI, Saint Paul McCartney IX!” Later, she prayed again for her fiancé’s safe return in front of an altar decorated with a picture of Michael Jordan.

Fortunately, the humor in the film does not end here, and the best joke ends with exploring a different path: the inflexibility of Santa’s bureaucracy, which requires strict compliance with a process and does not care about rewarding the “initiative” of those who try to circumvent it. (The climax of the movie is a physical duel between Santa and Candy dressed as Superman.) The idea that our cultural leftovers might define the dense folklore of those who don’t know its origins is probably interesting, but it’s not original. The figure of an anthropologist from a distant future, baffling from the ruins of our present, and drawing absurd conclusions from our most mundane things is older than the science fiction genre itself—the metaphor itself is a slanted extrapolation of a text. Secretly innovative and influential in the history of literature: Montesquieu’s Persian Letters.

There are other, more obvious precedents: Leibovitz’s song, where the entire theology was founded on the everyday shopping list of the nineteenth century. XX (“500 grams of bacon, six buns”, etc.); And even the famous comedies of the 80s, Gods must be crazyWith his supernatural bottle of Coca-Cola. crumbs He occupies a quiet spot midway between these two references, and in his defense seems less interested in crafting a coherent “message” than in scattering meanings across six repetitions of the same joke, until they sort themselves out. With a little goodwill, he encourages us to reflect on the irretrievable crumbs of the past that live in our time, and how some ways of interpreting these fragments are sometimes used to legitimize shady practices and an established hierarchy.

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