Friday, June 27, 2008

If You're Not Depressed Enough Already About the State of the World --

May I suggest that you spent an hour and forty-eight minutes or so watching a TV docudrama that was originally broadcast by the BBC in 1984? Threads is the completely harrowing story of what happens when the British town of Sheffield is caught up in a global nuclear conflict. Written by Barry Hines (Kes) and directed by Mick Jackson, who later came over here and helmed some interesting movie and tv projects including Volcano, The Bodyguard, L.A. Story, Indictment: The McMartin Trial (a great TV movie with James Woods and Henry Thomas), Tuesday with Morrie, Live from Baghdad, and the very recent The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Threads is like the grimmer, grittier, more horrifying version of The Day After -- and that was pretty tough in itself.

I don't think you will find the 1984 setting much of a distraction, and sadly so, the geopolitical squabble that escalates into war is pretty well still relevant. You might have to strain a bit to catch all the dialogue if you're ear isn't tuned well into Britspeak, but it's worth the effort.

GoogleVideo has the whole movie available on their website for viewing here. It's also interesting to check out the Amazon listing for the DVD of the movie to read the recollections of many British viewers who were profoundly affected by this TV movie when they originally saw it and still retain vivid memories of it, disturbing memories which none of them regret having.

A few years before Threads, Mick Jackson directed a documentary for Britain's QED showcase (kind of like our NOVA on PBS) called A Guide to Armageddon, about a nuclear bomb detonating above London. It's available in three parts on YouTube, and I also highly recommend taking a look at this. It's not really the kind of show one would embed lightly, so we're going to make you go to YouTube to watch it.

Why am I doing this to you? To make you ponder, that's all...and to see some really amazing television.


Dean Treadway said...

I would regard Threads as THE most depressing movie ever made, with Salo: 120 Days of Sodom and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer coming in at two and three. Of course, Threads, given its subject matter, could be nothing less than horribly, horribly dour, even sickening. But it is bravely directed by Jackson, and performed by its cast. I would like to see it with subtitles though.

Of course, the granddaddy of all nuclear war movies was also made by the BBC and won the Oscar in 1965 as Best Documentary. The War Game is Peter Watkins' b&w take on a London nuclear attack, and it, too, is devastating.

I would also mention Testament as a great movie on the same subject that really keeps the destruction down to a minimum, but focuses on the effects of those far away from the blast site.

All of these titles are warning shots fired from the bow of humanity. They are not fun, but they are essential viewing if we are to get serious about nuclear disarmament, which WE ALL SHOULD BE SERIOUS ABOUT. The Cold War might be over, but the bombs are still here, and are falling apart, too. A mistake could happen probably more easily today than ever.

Thanks, Lisa, for the info, and for having the good taste to recognize and seek out this incredible but very bleak movie.

Jane said...

The main topic of conversation, for me and all my friends and relatives these days, is how totally apocalyptic it all feels to live in America today. I am a Baby Boomer who still remembers having to "duck and cover" during school drills every month. I was just a little nine year old, and it was routine, not scary at all.It seems much weirder now, with the gas prices spiking and economy tanking. There's not even a line at Starbucks in the morning here. That sounds like a joke, but I think it is a harbinger. Nobody talks about it. They are all whistling past the graveyard.

Guys..I am so fascinated by the old nuclear war movies too. But I think what we are facing today is just as bad, but more amorphous than what we had growing up.

On a happier note: Dean, would you be willing to find a way to do a TV take on the wonderful waterfall public art thing that is going on in NY today? I saw a video, that waterfall under the Brooklyn Bridge is so fantastic. How are the local TV stations covering it? Can you give us an up close and personal view?

Dean Treadway said...

Hmmm, that waterfall thing looks good in some shots and not so good in other ones (you know there are four waterfalls, right?) I dunno if I am so interested in it, but i guess it's a bit nifty.

Life today is totally apocalyptic! Thanks, George W.! Of course, I think it's his family's aim to destroy America. I believe they are in cahoots with old time Nazis to bring America to its knees. I know this sounds outlandish, but when you're talking about the Skull and Bones boys, nothing is too out there.

I do believe we'll be hit by a nuclear bomb within five to ten years. Hopefully, they'll hit New York where I am, so I can go up with it. I don't wanna be around for the aftermath. It'll be concentration camps for us all.

Happy stuff!

Lisa said...

Aren't we a cheery bunch! :-)

Dean Treadway said...

it's just good to be realistic about these things. it's only a matter of time...

Lisa said...

You won't find anybody more resigned to the eventual dismal fate of the earth than I am, Dean! I didn't realize you shared those thoughts! No aftermath for me, either. As fascinating as it would be, I can't imagine anything more horrible than to survive to live in a destroyed world. I just re-watched "Threads" and I'm now doubly sure of my answer.

Dean Treadway said...

Of course. I do not want anything horrible like this to happen to humanity. But the mere invention of the device in question means that it must be used. And it's going to be used on us. We used it on the Japanese; it's karma that it be used on us. That's the way it is. I'm happy you've moved where you have. Perhaps it won't affect you. I plan to move to Costa Rica if things get really bad. The first sign I get, I'm gone. Into Costa Rica. The cats will have to stand their own fate, unfortunately.

It's coming. Bet on it. When i find the red flags going up, I'm gone, onto the peaceful beaches of CR. I have friends there who have got land, just for this purpose. They have said to me that they have retreated to CR because they see the signs. They have invited everyone they love to come there with them. If we can all make it, life will be great. I don't know how nuclear war will affect the world, but I will try to get to CR as soon as I see things getting bad. Way before things get REALLY bad. I'm lucky in some ways, because I have no real connection to anything that I own. That stuff can go by the wayside. Easy come, easy go. The only thing that'll break me heart is the leaving behind of my family and my animals. No one has ever loved me more than my mother and Marty and Angelo. But I will leave them behind if I must.

It's interesting to talk about this stuff, but it's difficult. This is the kind of thing most people don't wanna think about. But it's inevitable (Thank you, George W. Bush).

I think the worldwide view of America because of this ultimate asshole has sank so low that something is going to happen, and soon. The only savior we have is Obama, who might end up being the greatest president in the history of the USA. He is so level-headed. I think he might end up being on the level of Lincoln, and even greater, if he can get things together and avoid the trappings that we have been caught up in for the past 30 years.

He's the greatest, and at least we can be happy that he is going to be our new president. There's no way McCain can come in and best him. But if the vote counts are messed with as they have been in the past, even McCain would be better than the Asshole (which I will call him from now on; if anyone on the eart could be labeled the Anti-Christ, it's him).

Bush is so awful, I can't put it into words. He's the worst thing that ever happened to the world, and not just to America BUT THE WORLD. I hope he never has another sleep-filled night; I hope he dies a horrible death. I just hate him so much; he and everyone who fought for his coronation deserve nothing less than bloody death.

Celestial said...

I'd like to watch this one. Thanks for the info.

You got some great stuff here, more power!