Produced and directed by Glen Schultz
Reviewed by Virginia Davis.
Reviewed by Virginia Davis.
Volume 20 Number 2
Shall we begin with that title? An anagram specialist may see patterns this reviewers doesn't. One assumes it's the name of the man who is Earth's final survivor - and, naturally, our reluctant "hero."
Images (full-colour) over a period of unmeasured time communicate the survivor's desire to live, to have life around him, and to vent his anger at what is lost. He nurtures carefully the one tall house plant, that, in spite of him, silently and relentlessly drops leaves. He washes himself carefully, often. With balloon, paste, newspaper and oddments, he creates what at first appears to be a head (his own personal puppet-companion?) but in fact becomes a papier-mache model of the Earth.
From then on our Everyman takes Earth everywhere - on a walk, to al fresco shopping in a well-stocked warehouse where tins abound and fish fall dead from the ceiling. Each evening he tenderly wafts water over Earth, suggesting a wish to restore the essentials that would bring that golden-green-blue haven back to life. This action makes him, too, a destroyer: his water bath gradually dissolves the papier-mache continents, turning the Earth's surface to brown mush. Looking at his private Earth, he wonders aloud, "How much do you think you're worth?" In the final scene of explosive anger, he throws now-useless money into the wind that blows through the empty corridor between gleaming, silent skyscrapers and screams, "What do you want? What do you need? Take it all!"
This, then, is a parable in moving image. The life-depleting force is not named, so the viewer chooses his/her perceived great danger. The pain of the lone survivor, the need to retain the "normal" in the face of the desperate, and the powerful regret at "what-could-have-been" are certainly clear.
More than one viewing is recommended. Even with foreknowledge that the drama shows the last survivor on Earth, the action is confusing. Certainly much discussion can ensue about causes for life's disappearance, the personal logic of this man's choices for action, the profound isolation of the single survivor, the message about the severity of current threats to the Earth... and, yes, the meaning of that title. Maybe it's "All kinship is nipped because man's being such a d(r)umbo?"
Careful guidance recommended. Useful to any program about environmental concerns in public libraries or schools.
Virginia Davis, National Book Service, Toronto, Ont.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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