Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Journey is filmmaker Peter Watkins’s most ambitious experiment with form: at once a documentary, a dystopian science fiction film, a handbook for media analysis, and an organizational structure linking activist groups throughout the world. From 1983 to 1986, he undertook a transcontinental project to map the corrosive anticipation of impending nuclear catastrophe. Watkins worked with an international network of support groups to raise money and assemble crews while shooting the film in the US, Canada, Norway, Scotland, France, West Germany, Mozambique, Japan, Australia, Polynesia, Mexico, and the Soviet Union. The result is a fourteen-hour cartography of capitalism, historical memory, and fear that weaves together an analysis of the global arms race, recollections of survivors of the bombings in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Hamburg, and community preenactments of possible disaster scenarios. It is also a sustained critique of the media’s role in distraction, misinformation, and the normalization of nuclear geopolitical strategy, environmental destruction, gender inequality, the erosion of public education, and the spread of world hunger. Mixing nighttime news tropes, culture-jamming tactics, and even a dash of comedic animation, The Journey also continually questions and makes visible its own formal strategies. Watkins encourages us to challenge how we take in media, information, and entertainment, and, furthermore, to take them over --- heil bye