Children Of Men: Dreams and Nightmares

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I’d like to talk about it indirectly, by discussing Children of Men, a brilliant movie which depicts the nightmare that could happen if humanity continutes to move in the exact opposite direction of the one prescribed by Dr. King. The (fantastically reviewed) film is one of the most intense and powerful I’ve seen in a long time. It’s dark, painful, and important.

It takes place in the year 2027. All females on the planet are infertile, and the youngest person on earth (18 years old) is a celebrity. The British government has gone fascist, and immigrants are illegal – if caught, they are put in cages and deported to a refugee camp (that has strong echoes of both Iraq and Guantanamo Bay). All this sets the backdrop for an epic story that is, above all else, about humanity and dignity. The movie shows us, in a devastating manner, how precious what we have now is, and how easy it is to lose. Hatred, fear, and greed fill the vacuum of a world that has forgotten love, tolerance and acceptance.

The most painful part of the movie is that it doesn’t seem so far-fetched. A little more violence here, a little more hatred there, and a little less liberty everywhere, and we’re not so far off from the bleak life shown in the film. Dr. King’s teachings are just as relevant today as they were during his life, and Children of Men reminds us why.

–YY

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