Sunday, 8 August 2010

Письма мёртвого человека

Dead Man's Letters (AKA Letters From a Dead Man) is a post-apocalyptic Soviet/Russian film made in 1986. It's directed by the guy that assisted Tarkovsky's Stalker. It was also co-written by Boris Strugatsky, one of the brothers who wrote Roadside Picnic.

This is set in a town after an accidental nuclear war due to the operator of the missile choking of coffee (it's not meant to be funny or anything, maybe black humour) and being 7 seconds late in trying to cancel it. This isn't a junk or comical sf film that you'd come across. It's extremely atmospheric, and very depressing: smoggy looking landscapes, lights burning through radiation, muggy swamps, gas masks, survivors in bunkers, canned food. There aren't any heavy philosophical elements in this film, but it covers a lot of ethics, humanism, faith, and insanity.

The world that is shown here is convincingly horrifying. Anybody that writes this off as 'fiction' should watch this film to understand what constitutes humanity, and how that very same thing can destroy us. The sound in this film sounds like there is a world that is trying struggling to breathe: a constant humming, clanging, ambient drones. A world that man created and then destroyed. Even if you heard someone watching this film you would find it haunting.

This film is very dark, very eerie, and successfully portrays what a world could be like if nuclear disaster did happen. In a way this is like the other side of the coin that Stalker didn't concentrate on. It looks directly at a vision of the future that could of happened. Could this film have been created from the midsts of the Cuban missile crises and the Cold War from a USSR/Russian perspective? No. It's not political at all. There is a common perspective between all man when it comes to nuclear war, and this film unlike its American Hollywood counterparts could actually be used as a powerful anti-war film.

Science is a threat; the main character is a prize-winning physicist. A lot of the film centres around the innocence of children, and the nature and history of man's survival. What keeps us living when everyone is as good as dead?

Here is a list of fiction (novels, films) containing nuclear holocaust.

This film is extremely difficult to get hold of. People online have said you can get the DVD from Russia without subtitles. I can't recommend this film strongly enough, that's why I'm providing a torrent:

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