The ‘Age of Stupid’ Vs ‘Idiocracy’


This post is brought to you by the letters ‘I’ and ‘Q’. Or at least, the spotlight is cast onto public intelligence, albeit by two very different films.

The Age Of Stupid
Premiering in Sydney ( complete with Green Carpet for celebrities ) on Aug 19, The Age of Stupid is a feature film pitched as a ‘drama-documentary-animation’ hybrid, and stars Pete Postlethwaite as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055, watching archive footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance? Director Frannie Armstrong previously covered the McLibel case, where UK activists faced off McDonalds in court, so the perspective is likely predictable, but the film is also interesting because of the ways it was made.

Crowdsourcing gets mentioned a lot lately, as a way to harness the power of groups online, but this film managed to entirely source it’s near half million pound budget through a wide range of individual and group donors, ensuring complete editorial control, and giving each of those investors own a per centage of the film’s profits. Production of the film also took into account it’s carbon footprint ( as estimated 94 tonnes of CO2 ), and endeaviured at every stage of making the film to reduce it where possible. This included showing the world premiere in London inside a solar-powered cinema tent, having guests arrive on bicycles. ( It also helps having the involvement of people such as Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Dragnerve and The Band of Holy Joy, creators of the Gorillaz animations, and the oscar nominated Pete Postlewhaite in the lead role. )

And while the 2055 future dwellers may doubt our public intelligence, it’d appear the film appeals to our brighter, proactive capacities. Guests will arrive at the Sydney launch by ‘bicycle, solar car, rickshaw, feet, horse or electric car’, there will be pedal-powered popcorn, and the launch will harness satellite technology to link together more than 40 cinemas around Australia for the lead-up to the film, and questions and answers with the director and star after the film. Frannie herself admits that having 3 of their team fly around the world is in contradiction to the film’s message : “We think the potential benefits outweigh the frighteningly high emissions (13 tonnes each – about 13 years of emissions for someone living sustainably), but we may well be proved wrong.”
Part of their rationale includes a planned Aussie parliament screening, and overall an attempt to “catapult climate change – and the all-important Copenhagen climate summit – slapbang into the Aussie and Kiwi consciousnesses.”

Tickets for the Aug 19 premiere on sale now. And of course they’re on : )

Also set in the future, but in an Adam Sandler-esque kinda way, is this cult film which suggests that the next half millenia sees society dumbing down through a process of natural selection : “stupid people easily out-breed the intelligent…. the children of the educated élites are drowned in a sea of sexually promiscuous, illiterate, alcoholic, degenerate peers.” A dopey cryogenic frozen pair of ppeople from today suddenly find themselves as the smartest people on the planet, and set about trying to reverse the trends. Today the U.S. President is Barack Obama. In 2500 it is a former wrestler and porn star named Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.

The Idiots
Of course, neither of the above are to be confused with the Danish Dogme film by Lars Von Trier. Anyone who has seen the Idiots, won’t make that mistake – it features a bunch of ‘anti-bourgeois’ adults who pretend to be disabled as a means of provoking others. That, the unsimulated sex and the directorial shadow of Von Triers is usually enough to remind people this ain’t Hollwood.

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