Monday, January 28, 2013

Film: Perfect Sense

The 1973 film, Soylent Green is still the most powerful cinematic warning about our careless ways.  Perfect Sense  (2011), directed by David Mackenzie,
is more subtly presented as one of the scariest sci-fi films that I have experienced.

 It begins with the actors' personality sketches. There's a lot of sensuality of the everyday kind -  good sniffing - a woman's scent, baking, roasting meat,  but also a few disgusting but ordinary odors. But when an unknown are epidemic flows over the world, we are suddenly srtipped of that memory-ladden and pushed well beyond that wonderful human ability to smell (and thereby taste) FOOD.

We often hear the remark that the world must come to its senses. In this story, the world loses its senses, one by one. The impact upon humanity is devastating. The two lovers, a gifted chef (McGregor) and a lovely epidemiologist (Green) attempt to survive

Their brief life together is interrupted by a spreading, world-wide epidemic causing the loss of a person's ability to smell and accompanied, too, by depression because taste and smell are connected to the brain. Puzzling for scientist Green but disastrous for the chef and restaurant owners. Dining out ceases for a while and then resumes.  Humans adapt by turning their attention to textures and visual elements.  The encrusted fish was crunchy. The garnish was a delight of vegetables and herbs. Pretty to see.

The central couple (McGregor and Green) cope as best they can but lack of smell and taste threatens to diminish their ardor.  The follow their old routines out of memory, though memory loss is one of the great dangers to sensory loss. Emergency agencies become overloaded and religious revivals are everywhere.

Then the virus takes a more cruel turn and deprives its victims of hearing, strangely turning them into voracious eaters - and consumers of raw flesh.

Many say that modern life diminishes our senses. We are confronted by various types of pollution: water, air, sound, chemicals and plastic.  These are not viruses but clearly a dangerous condition. Worst of all, our dilemma is all but ignored by regulatory agencies who receive support from the lobbyists of polluting enterprises.

Right: Beijing Smog

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