Dark, edgy, realistic, sobering, humanly humorous. No this is not a description of a visit by your dysfunctional cousin, it is a short set of thoughts on the new movie Children of Men Children of Men. The film is complex and yet eerily easy to follow. It also includes an “alternate reality” site The Human Project which complements the realism of the movie. Alternate Reality on the web is another topic which is worthy of mentioning, but later.
Citizen Une and I viewed this film last night. The movie is set in a near future Great Britain in which it remains as the only viable nation state. The world has essentially collapsed with the impact of numerous wars, illnesses and most importantly, a mysterious global infertility among the planet’s women.
There are no true bad guys, save the possible self serving nature of humans. The “resistance fighters” are ruthless, the government is uncaring and the general population is numbed by the continuing onslaught of all they hold stable and secure.
The movie is loaded with great action, solid acting (Clive Owen and Michael Caine are brilliant) and some very gritty urban combat scenes. All of the elements are really reflection (in my opinion) of present fears and events. There are even several not so subtle references to Iraq and some of the errors of the United States.
At the heart of the movie is the rising, legitimate concern over global fertility and population. In sharp contrast to the Malthusian notion, (he was somewhat of a jerk) the world population growth is projected to slow dramatically in the coming half century. The world grew from 2.5 bn persons in 1950 to over 6 bn in 2005. The number is projected to be 9 bn by 2050, certis paribus (all things constant – ooooh, Latin!). In some areas of the world, national levels are expected to decline. Many developed nations in Europe are expected to decrease in population. It is worth reading the executive summary as the demographic makeup of the globe’s population is critical to its future.
Why has fertility declined? There are a number of reasons posted, from environmental to social. Understanding these reasons will be essential for governments and societies to act in their behalf.
I am not a Cassandrist, I do believe that our globe is subject to very strong, macro forces which shape the direction of human and planetary society. Some are out of our control (eventual aging and deterioration of the Sun, for example) many are within our power to affect (almost everything else). I would like to see more discussion on legitimate science and its impact on our globe. This includes the biological, environmental and social as well as the physical.
Nonetheless, see the movie. It’s gripping and thought provoking. The violence is graphic and one feels a bit relieved to emerge back into a world which is still (more or less) sane.