SEK’s New Internet Film School column: How the politics of Snowpiercer don’t matter if you’re an idiot anyway
Here you go. Sample:
Much praise has been showered upon the unsubtle English-language debut of South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, Snowpiercer, but the most interesting came from an unexpected source, conservative columnist Michael Potemra, who wrote that “the film succeeds aesthetically and as pure entertainment” despite the fact that “it’s a pretty heavy-handed Marxist allegory.” Convincing your ideological opponent that your “heavy-handed” slagging of their belief system is an exceptional work of art is quite the feat. Imagine convincing the grandchild of someone who survived a concentration camp that Leni Riefenstahl brilliantly captured the pain of the German people when she had Hitler lay a wreath on the Great War memorial in Triumph Of The Will. Not going to happen.
But that is precisely what a student of film should be able to do—divorce content from form, and remove both from the historical context, in order to understand how a piece works. Which is not to say that Potemra is a student of film, because despite his praise for the “aesthetic” of Snowpiercer, he also claims that “the train is an excellent set, a realized world that manages, amazingly, to avoid claustrophobia.” Potemra seemingly prefers to remember the more well-lit second half of the film to the painfully claustrophobic opening scenes. The latter half of the film, after all, concerns the tortured choices the capitalist elite must make in order for humanity to survive—a theme much more to the liking of someone who writes for the National Review…
UPDATE: If only I’d known that Jonah would publish his review the same day I did mine!