Tuesday, October 10, 2006


To set the mood for North Korea's atomic hangover, some screening suggestions:

Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)

The most obvious choice. Not only does Kubrick manage to lampoon the idea of an apocalypse, he presents a credible scenario for its inevitability. Legend has it that Ronald Reagan asked to see the movie's fabricated "war room" after he was elected president; I'd imagine Bush asked if he could ride the bomb.

Fail Safe (Sidney Lumet, 1964)

The second most obvious choice, building on the same premise as Strangelove, minus Peter Sellar's iconic quirky Nazi or really any kind of humor in any capacity, but still compelling drama as only Lumet can direct it.

Hiroshima, Mon Amour (Alain Resnais, 1959)

Resnais' classic New Wave drama is either a love story or a deconstruction of nuke-inspired trauma, depending on how you skew it. Or is it both? Either way, an emotional affair for all parties involved, especially the vaporized ones.

Frantic (Roman Polanski, 1988)

Not Polanski's greatest thriller (I'm a Repulsion man, myself), but the best example of a nuclear device as the ultimate Macguffin. Because that's what it frequently is, as far as political discourse is concerned. Except on the occasions when it's not.

Kiss Me Deadly (1955, Robert Aldrich)

If a suitcase contained the end of the world, I bet it would hide out in Tora Bora.


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