Quietus: State-Sponsored Suicide in “Children of Men” (2006)

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s post-Apocalyptic masterpiece Children of Men is set in a nightmarish future United Kingdom about eighteen years after the human fertility rate dropped to zero. As war and existential despair claim most parts of the world, the UK “soldiers on” via a near-totalitarian regime that offers its citizens the option of suicide via … Read moreQuietus: State-Sponsored Suicide in “Children of Men” (2006)

Sherlock Holmes Honors the Dead (“Mr. Holmes”, 2015)

In the climactic scene of Mr. Holmes, the titular detective – aged 93 and very near to the end of his own life – mimics a memorial ritual he had witnessed in Japan to honor the deceased. In the context of this story, the scene has a special poignancy in that it seems to contradict … Read moreSherlock Holmes Honors the Dead (“Mr. Holmes”, 2015)

Merlin on Self-Fulfilling Prophesy and Destiny (Knightriders, 1981)

In this scene from George Romero’s messy, mystical, countercultural take on the Arthurian mythos, Merlin (Brother Blue) councils King Billy (Ed Harris) on the tensions between notions of destiny and self-fulfilling prophecy. The clip includes some shots from a later scene in which Merlin’s prophecy (and Billy’s dreams) come true, in the form of a … Read moreMerlin on Self-Fulfilling Prophesy and Destiny (Knightriders, 1981)

“Mi’i waw wi’a Law”: How Nell Honors Her Dead

For about a month now I’ve been trying to recall where I’d seen a memorial rite involving placing flowers in a skull’s eye sockets, and today it suddenly came to mind. The 1994 film Nell was based on Mark Handley’s play Idioglossia and stars Jodie Foster as a young woman raised in complete isolation by her reclusive, deeply … Read more“Mi’i waw wi’a Law”: How Nell Honors Her Dead

Maya Greenwood Embodies the Reaper

In Starhawk’s ecotopian novel The Fifth Sacred Thing (1994), the pacifistic, neoPagan residents of San Francisco in the year 2048 must endure and somehow prevail over an invasion by the militaristic Stewards from the South Lands. As part of a multifaceted strategy, the San Franciscans conjure the ritual of “haunting”, in which the friends and … Read moreMaya Greenwood Embodies the Reaper