I’m a big fan of Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men. The film rewards re-watching and analysis as it is full of literary and artistic references to deliver its ever-more prescient view of the world’s near future. See my series here on its use of Wasteland/Fisher King Mythology.
When I found out that Nerdwriter–he whom I’ve been loving on lots lately–had done a video essay on the use of background in Children of Men, I was excited to see what he would say. I wasn’t exactly expecting to be surprised, but in fact, he did teach me a few new things. (I love learning new things!)
Evan Puschak’s video looks somewhat behind the main narrative of Kee and Theo to examine the backgrounds that frequently steal the camera’s attention. He delves into the imagery to elucidate not only the social narrative Cuaron has constructed but also the artistic allusions used to deepen the setting. From The Birth of Venus to Guernica to Pink Floyd’s Animals, Children of Men masterfully folds in cultural references to build the historical progression to the dystopia Theo lives in.
If you’re even a mild fan of this film, Nerdwriter’s video essay on its backgrounds is not to be missed.