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Must We ‘Leave the World Behind’? Empty Must We ‘Leave the World Behind’?

周六 12月 30, 2023 7:57 pm
Must We ‘Leave the World Behind’?

The recent movie, Leave the World Behind (Sam Esmail, Dir; 2023; Netflix), based on the novel by Rumaan Alam (2020) is not what it seems, to wit, a disturbing narrative of a family’s holiday weekend gone awry when an unfolding cyberattack paralyses their electronic devices and gradually wreaks havoc in the air, in cities and on roads, as perceptible in some scenes.

Debbie Lerman’s perceptive article highlighted a number of relevant aspects of this significant movie – not ‘significant’ because of any outstanding cinematic features, but because of its symptomatic importance, as I shall try to show – but I would like to focus on another side to it. Although compatible with Lerman’s piece – I particularly found myself agreeing with the title of her essay – this interpretation aims to concentrate on several scene-sequences in the film, as well as other related considerations, in an attempt to uncover some of the probable intentions behind its production.

But is this not a matter of reading something into the movie that is not there? In a certain sense, yes, namely that – on the face of – it is a disaster movie of sorts. ‘Of sorts,’ because the ‘real disaster’ which the narrative hints at in an open-ended manner is only just beginning to play out where the movie ends, with Rosie starting to watch what seems like the last episode of her favourite television series, Friends, in a neighbour’s underground bunker stocked with ‘prepper’ supplies.

This is itself a significant scene: Rosie, the young daughter of the white couple (the Sandfords), escapes into a sitcom fantasy (which ‘makes her happy’) at the very moment when it appears that everyone is completely helpless in the face of an unfolding series of events too vast to grasp adequately, let alone address by effective intervention.

Hence, ostensibly it is a disaster film, but several things – both intra-cinematically and extra-cinematically – strongly suggest that it is much more than that. The first concerns the unsightly Klaus Schwab, real-world counterpart of the ‘Emperor Palpatine,’ or Darth Sidious, in George Lucas’s Star Wars, although his oft-melodramatic outfits suggest that he rather fancies himself as the ominous Darth Vader. Not long ago Darth Schwab’s organisation, the World Economic Forum, issued a stark cyberattack warning, comparing the rate at which its effects would spread to that of the ‘novel coronavirus’ that caused Covid-19. Schwab himself has weighed in on this possibility, too, as seen in this video, where The People’s Voice presenter somewhat bluntly claims that Barack Obama used the film to ‘order governments to prepare [the] public for [an] imminent depopulation event.’ Presumably this is because the Obamas’ company, presumptuously titled Higher Ground Productions, produced the movie, while the couple also acted as executive producers.

While his statement is ingenuous, the presenter in this The People’s Voice video (linked above) is nevertheless on the right track. However, by producing a cinematic narrative that is easily recognisable as belonging to a specific genre – that of disaster films, related to action and thriller movies – Obama can rely on what is nowadays known as ‘plausible deniability’ (particularly on the part of those responsible for ‘sudden deaths’ among individuals who received the Covid ‘vaccines’).

One of the elements of the film that cleverly provides such deniability is the references (through a conversation with Danny) to the probability that the cyberattack was launched by China, or North Korea, or Iran. Yet, one cannot avoid wondering in what way, as executive producer, Obama was able to tweak Esmail’s direction, and perhaps did so, given the apparent frequency with which he communicated with the latter about this:

Alam’s critically-acclaimed novel was on former President Obama’s 2021 summer reading list, and Esmail shared that as the film was adapted into a suspenseful screenplay, the American politician offered useful feedback.

“In the original drafts of the script, I definitely pushed things a lot farther than they were in the film, and President Obama, having the experience he does have, was able to ground me a little bit on how things might unfold in reality,” Esmail says to Vanity Fair.

The filmmaker also talks about his fear of working with the former president and receiving his critiques.

“He had a lot [of] notes about the characters and the empathy we would have for them,” Esmail says. He continues, “I have to say he is a big movie lover, and he wasn’t just giving notes about things that were from his background. He was giving notes as a fan of the book, and he wanted to see a really good film.”

It does seem like an extraordinary degree of involvement in the scriptwriting and directing of a movie by an executive producer, and reading between the lines of Esmail’s account of Obama’s ‘interest,’ one discerns inklings of more than just a movie fan’s eag
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