Sunday, 29 May 2011

attack the block (j scifi)

The spatiality of fear explored in a meeting of that aspirational architecture derived from images of the 60s 70s space program and more contemporary ambivalence towards the violent otherness of the universe. A little bit of District 9's apartheid allegory, a little bit of Clockwork Orange's disaffected youth and language, a little bit of Shaun of the Dead's happy British horror. And the centrality of social architecture in this film is compelling, the beauty of the human tapestry of homes in highrise and the wealth of dialect and the striking performance of young actors. I would see it again.

I should enjoy to know the ambitions Cornish has for the dimension of the film which functions explicitly as a Biblical allegory. Here a leader is raised up against a situation of social injustice, a context featuring the oppression of a people group by an imperial other. This leader kills a representative of that force, complicating his relationship with his own tribe and obliging him to flee. Less directly allegoricable, we then see this leader draw out those forces, as chariots into a parted Red Sea, and there eliminate them, and later he is prevented from entering the finale's promised land on account of unbelieving force he had used earlier in the story. This leader's name is Moses and I cannot but think that this is more than an incidental cultural reference to the eccentric naming practices of South London's pentecostals.

Even if it brings no particular added depth to our understanding, this parallel is interesting as an exploration of the Exodus narrative by which, it seems, many make sense of their experience of South London and race/class relations there. There is a throw-away line, where one character expresses the conspiracy theory that, just as 'the Feds' introduced drugs to the estates and introduced guns to the estates, they have now introduced these animals, the faster to prematurely end the lives of troublesome troubled youths.

The personification of the spiritual dimension of these forces, of drugs and violence, in the characters of these monsters, is a metaphorical device worth being challenged by. In our efforts to bring peace, hope, love and justice, in South London, there is another team on the pitch, for those with eyes to see.

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