Polaroid Android: The Green Beautiful
A world lush and blue
With rivers running wild
They'll be re-routed South
With none left for you or for me.
Don't give in.
♫ "Explorers", Muse (2012)
I really fell for this lovely French comedy I've recently discovered on the web! I'll try not to spoil it for you with my introduction.
Having received significant critical backlash upon its release in 1996 (that is eleven years after the international success of Three Men And A Cradle) — for obviously being way ahead of its time — Coline Serreau's Green Beautiful should have remained lost forever. However, the magic of the internet and consciousness awakening truly revived it, turning it into an iconic movie subtitled in many languages with over 3,5 million views. Probably because it's the only French film of recent times talking about nature, environment and the importance of greenery in our daily lives.
I wanted to make a wild movie about utopianism that would question the roots of our system. After a long-standing theoretical research and filling notebooks with notes, scenes, thoughts and unsuccessful attempts, and after raising so many questions I couldn't even hear the answers anymore, I eventually began to write the script, guided by the serene movement of trees. Upon completion, it was met with mixed response. Producer Alain Sarde emphasised the concerns of the various funding partners involved in the project. “Do you really want to make this movie?” he asked. And I said yes excitedly. Upon release, the film was a big failure. Nobody liked it, nobody wanted to see it, reviewers ridiculed me. The industry didn't get this UFO. But movies never die. Over the years, against all odds The Green Beautiful took a life of its own and as a living creature started to grow and make its mark from people's need of it and through the loud message it conveyed to the world. Websites emerged on the internet, Green Beautiful clubs, groups of people gathering together to watch the film and discuss it. Was I ahead of my time ? Are we standing on the edge of such an abyss we need to drastically question all our values as this film does to be able to invent a new society?
~ Coline Serreau
The Green Beautiful is a distant Earth-like planet covered with blossoming vegetation whose inhabitants, who look similar to human beings, all live in peace and bliss. Gone are factories, work, competition, hierarchy, stress, and power struggles. They all have been replaced with harmony, tranquillity, and silence concerts in a simplified world free from the enslaving artificial values of our modern lifestyles. Mila (Coline Serreau) is the only volunteer to visit the Earth to check on the status of its people since the French Revolution. She (literally) lands from a bubble on the Paris ring-road, in a polluted, smelly city, littered with dog poo, where people in the street are blind to each other and interact only to abuse one another. The comic impulse of the movie mainly relies on Mila's ability to “disconnect” humans not to put them in a trance, but to unplug them from the Matrix that both sucks them up, feeds and poisons them all at the same time. By releasing them from the delusion, she allows them to express their true nature and genuine needs, which creates funny situations like turning a football match into a classical ballet or compelling politicians to tell the truth on a live talk show on TV. As illustrated by the trailer below.
At issue here is actually the whole structure of our post-modern society:
- The concept of social hierarchy with its consequent superiority (chiefs), domination, and social competition.
- The alleged value of technology as a measure of development: “We also had an industrial era, but then there was the pre-renaissance chaos when we turned down all industrial products against anything that could poison nature and human life”. Hence the return to nature as a logical development of evolution.
- The social lie and absence of love as a true link: “So when you don't wear lipstick, people don't love you?”, “Why do you stay with a guy like me? For your bank account, what else, honey”, “Careful, when they are disconnected they speak the truth!”
- Money: “If you ain't got any money, you get nothing”, “Are they still using money?” A world with fraternal relationships would be where gift, loan or exchange would be done directly as within a family where you lend things without money.
- Television as a mental poison: “I'm sick of this TV that sucks your mind! From now on, in this household, we will talk to each other.” (Source)
Well, I think I'll leave it at that. If you want to see the movie, you may purchase the DVD or find it on the Internet (often subtitled in foreign langages) as I'm afraid the Vimeo link I had included prior to publishing this article has since been deleted.
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Tags: culture, society, eyael
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