I finally got around to watching The Road, although from what I gather this review will apply even moreso to the book. Like The Matrix, the use of humans in the story goes against the Laws of Thermodynamics. In short, eating a human yields less energy than it took to grow the human. (Hilariously, this Master’s in English Literature thesis about the theme of “entropy” in The Road completely misses the thermodynamic problem with cannibalism.)
It’s often said that The Road depicts a world with no ecosystem. In fact, the ecosystem is just extremely simple: non-replenishable vegetables, one species of herbivores (hereafter “good guys”) and one species of predator (cannibals).
In one of the most famous scenes, some cannibals are keeping humans imprisoned for eating later. But their prisoners are wasting away at 1500 calories per day – it would be far better to kill all of them as soon as they’re captured and preserve the meat. The only reason we keep livestock is if they can eat food we can’t, such as grass, to upgrade excess low quality food, such as grain, or to store food temporarily, such as a hog fattened for winter.
In another scene, a pack of carnivores chases down one or two herbivores. But with a subsistence ecosystem, we should expect to see a few solitary predators preying on a large base of herbivores. The rate at which predators would find prey would quickly lead them to turn on each other.
Based on these violations of physics, my conclusion is that the father and son are in fact in purgatory. The father is there for the sin of suicide: the two bullets in the gun represent not the two bullets left, but the two bullets used to get them there. The boy, born after The Fall, was never baptised, so when the father is freed at the end, the boy must keep walking the road with some of those other couples that the mother mentions “are doing it” (suicide).
The Festival has replaced their bad HTML guide with a Flash guide (how 2008!) that I can’t get to work, so I’m using the PDF guide. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a HTML page including showtimes, a description and a trailer I could link to for each of these films? Instead you get links to pages in the PDF (which won’t work if you’re using Chrome):
- Two Indians Talking
- “On the eve of a blockade” sounds like a great setting for a film about First Nations in BC.
- The Shrine
- You had me at “Lovecraftian”. I’ve really enjoyed some of the low-budget terror films played at past years in the film festival. Nothing is more Canadian than a movie about an American in Poland shot in Ontario.
- A documentary about the decline of dog sleds in northern Canada: are snowmobiles better or did the RCMP kill all the dogs? It uses a bunch of footage from truth and reconciliation commissions about the issue.
- You Are Here
- When I hear that a movie features the Chinese room philosophical thought experiment I pray that it’s amusingly surreal rather than heavy-handed gibberish like Waking Life.
- Fall of Womenland and Black Hands
- The first documentary is about a traditional polyandry in China: an extremely rare form of society. The second documentary is a reminder that New France had slaves and they were treated just as badly as in the American South.
- Bang Women Art Revolution
- This is a documentary made up of interviews about the feminist art movement, which as we know, many people still don’t take seriously.
- The People vs George Lucas
- I’m more of a Trekkie than a Jedi, but I know enough about Star Wars fandom (Han shot first) that I think this would be entertaining.
- No Fun City
- Anybody who likes culture should be aware how bureaucracy stifles the nightlife in British Columbian towns compared (usually) to Portland. But I’m more interested in zoning and liquor licensing than the focus on indie rock that this documentary appears to take.
I have a heavy volunteer schedule, so I won’t make it to all of these, but I’ll review those that I do.