TEN MOVIES TO PUSH GRETA THUNBERG OVER THE EDGE
Little Greta Thunberg, at sweet 16 years old, is but an innocent in this big old world that she’s taken on with her climate activism. Yet, it’s worth bearing in mind that it wasn’t inspiration alone that has bound Greta’s selfless crusading but the anxiety and pressures that accompany her Asperger’s Syndrome. Her dad admitted recently that before she came to symbolise a global movement she wouldn’t talk, didn’t eat, and shunned the potty. Choosing to forego school and leave her friends wasn’t that difficult a decision to make since she was a lousy student and she didn’t have any friends, but that’s not the whole story; Greta needed to get a grip on that terrible sense of dread that made her every waking moment an unbearable state of being. See, Greta’s acute sensitivity has meant that concerns which we normal people buffer ourselves from by getting on with things is not a relief valve available to her; she feels the gasps of our choking planet. In fact, she’s like the earth whisperer in which she can hear the ailing moans of the earth where nobody else can. However, the earth can’t hear her back. This is quite a weight for such a youngster to carry and means that she is a fragile vase at the best of times. Therefore, imagine how badly you could push her over the edge by maximising the anxiety of her troubled headspace? Sure, you could do this a number of ways; by taunting her with nihilistic rhetoric about how she doesn’t care about the planet, just human beings, and as humans are all arseholes it’s a good thing we’re dying out. That wouldn’t wash with Greta since she’s afraid for earthlings, and raging through clenched teeth and bulging eyes she would struggle for the articulation to express her disgust with such misanthropy. By then you would have admitted it was just a joke, a mere jolly jape, and you just wanted to see what happened when she got her blood pressure up. By the time she had recovered, you’d be doing it again, only this time by praising mining, claiming that it does far better for people than unrealistic carbon reduction goals. Yes, ribbing Great can be beaut fun! But we have a better way; see, given her rich imagination and sharp sensitivity we feel that by strapping her down in a movie theatre seat and playing to her films she’s doubtless yet never seen, but which have a reputation for provoking a strong reaction in audiences, we could really and truly push her over the edge into irrecoverable madness. Just for a joke, mind you, because we here at New Australian Bulletin are huge fans of Greta. We’re probably her biggest. It’s true.
Todd Philips’ character study of the Joker villain, his coming-of-insanity film about the making of the clown prince of crime, is just un-Woke enough in its nihilism, overall sense of urban decay and social alienation, that it would certainly get under Greta’s skin. But it might even reshape her brain so much so that she would become the Joker and start wearing clown makeup as she cackled and compared Donald Trump to Thomas Wayne which is what the film’s director was doing anyway. At the very least, she would leave the theatre with an untreatable case of Tourette’s syndrome.
David Lynch’s first feature, his masterpiece Eraserhead, is the most disturbing movie ever made hands-down. It has no plot, per se, other than Henry, the lonely protagonist who lives in an industrial wasteland (Lynch’s interpretation of the American city Philadelphia), goes to dinner to meet the parents of his girlfriend Mary X. There, he learns that Mary has had a premature baby which is at the hospital, but they’re “not sure it is a baby”. Thus kicks-off the first successful artistic attempt to replicate a human nightmare on the screen. Nothing could possibly prepare a mind as delicate as Greta’s for the horrendous onslaught of surreal imagery and twisted concepts that makes Eraserhead more a rite of passage than a conventional filmgoing experience. We reckon Greta would be found somewhere up the back of the theatre clinging to a chair. The fire brigade would have to pry her grip loose.
PLANET OF THE APES (1968)
The original Planet of the Apes kicks that bogus 2011 remake and its sequels into the men’s room trough where they belong! Whoever thought that the ham trickery of CGI could ever make up for having actors dressed up in ape costumes? What were they thinking? But it’s the underlying horror at the core of the film which came at a time of paranoia over the Cuban missile crisis and the cold war between the east and west which generates the dread this film inspired. The final scene where Charlton Heston falls to his knees at the side of a beach, only for the camera to pan up to a derelict statue of liberty protruding out of the sand, which hits home the awful caveat of what might become of the species. If the troubled Swede hasn’t seen this already it’s sure to blow her disturbed mind into a million particles of runny pink goo.
DR STRANGELOVE — OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964)
Stanley Kubrick’s celebrated satire on how the end of the world might be triggered by a mad air force general struck a Cold War nerve as much as it tickled the funny bone of audiences back then. It is still considered a masterwork of black comedy given how utterly plausible was the scenario and how frighteningly detailed was the depiction of events. The laughing aside, the film gave as much of a shudder to the viewer as it did the giggles. And we’re just talking about someone normal, not a crazy paranoid little Swedish girl with Asperger’s like Gretel Thunberg whose every waking moment is spent suffocating in the anguish of what might happen if civilisation is destroyed. We reckon she would need an extended period of recovery after watching this, followed by intense therapy.
MAN BITES DOG (1992)
This nasty little crime mockumentary which is also a black comedy may not revolve around an end-of-times scenario but we guarantee that Greta would require sedation about a quarter of the way through the film. A Belgium production, it is filmed from the point of view of a camera crew following around a serial killer as he commits his ghastly murders. Its utter indifference to morality or human life would certainly traumatise Greta and all those like her. But it’s the scenes where after he kills his victims the otherwise affable and amusing Ben disposes of them by lazily throwing their sheet-wrapped carcasses over a the edge of a quarry which really gets in one’s craw for the casualness of it all. Greta wouldn’t even need the surroundings of the cinema to be appalled by this flick, it would be troubling on DVD or just streamed to her low energy laptop. That way one could capitalise on the experience by staring at her through her window at the same time as she’s watching this madman do his thing. By the time she notices you, she would suffer a major coronary.
SOYLENT GREEN (1973)
Since Greta’s ultimate fear is not just extinction but the collapse of society on its way to oblivion then the dystopian Soylent Green is just the kind of film to make her double her meds. In an overpopulated world where nothing green grows and there is scarce to eat, the only form of sustenance is human beings ourselves. Only, nobody knows that people are the secret ingredient in the dray biscuits that they are doled out as survival provisions by the helmeted goons of the state controllers. Perhaps, take Greta to dinner after this, and while she eats vegan be sure to order a carnivore’s dish such as a chunky porterhouse steak. Have the chef cook it painfully rare, almost bloody. Then, while you’re eating, steer the conversation in the direction of cannibalism and how it wouldn’t be such a bad idea for feeding the lower economic classes.
THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE, AND HER LOVER (1989)
If you had to capture the essence of Greta’s obsession, it is her own sense of finely honed outrage. As the ultimate latest generational model of social justice warrior, any sort of social injustice is likely to get Greta’s pulse running. Peter Greenaway’s triumph of anti-conservativism and Thatcherite capitalism The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover is just the sort of film to distress anybody who hates it when the strong lord it over the weak. When it comes to that kind of scenario, this is a picture that had audiences get up and walk out it was so difficult to watch. Albert Spica is the quintessential parvenu and gangster and a fine French restaurant is the perfect setting for him and his boys. Misogynistic to a fault, the ‘wife’ in the title of the film is more than just a punching bag for Albert, but revenge is a dish best served… erm, cooked. No spoilers here!
Pasolini’s Salò, or 120 Days of Sodom, is banned in Australia. You can buy it on DVD as it has extras included which place the film in context, but without that linear guidance, the film is just a freefall into the most appalling decadence, sadism and horror ever filmed and therefore not permitted release. It’s not just the acts of violent perversion that are harrowing, but the supposed political subtext supporting this cinematic hybrid of the Marquis De Sade meets Dante. The film takes its title from the Republic of Salò, which was the Nazi-controlled German half of Italy where Mussolini was taken after he was freed from the incarceration. The scenario is simple: four wealthy and wicked libertines in the Republic of Salò have soldiers kidnap 18 teenagers who they strip of all rights and confine to a manor house in which they rule their lives with their every sordid desire and sadistic whim. Greta would make it to around the half-hour mark before grunting like an animal and pushing over furniture. Then she would hyperventilate, her doctor would be called and in turn, her psychologist and police would be needed to sedate her with an airgun as by this stage she would have degenerated into a wild beast.
TRIUMPH OF THE WLL (1935)
Leni Riefenstahl became Hitler’s most admired filmmaker with this 1935 propaganda release about the resurrection of Germany and the rise of the Third Reich. It contained bulk cinematic innovations that are used to this day in much the same way Werhner von Braun’s work gave us space travel tips that are still in use. Nothing bad happens in this documentary as such, but the subject matter is enough to send Greta tearing through her closet for the superhero outfit she created for herself in the days when she was going to use superpowers to save the planet from climate change. Of course, by the time she gets her latex costume on, the war will have ended, which means she’d collapse into a defeated heap left once more to suck on her thumb while the dog barks through the closed door to her bedroom.
PINK FLOYD THE WALL (1982)
Depression probably figures pretty heavily in Greta’s life, what with the world about to end, and no one doing anything about it. Because of that, she would make the perfect subject for Alan Parker’s depressing-as horror musical about the despair of the nuclear age as it relates to its deteriorating central character, Pink. The brilliance in exposing a vulnerable Greta to a film such as this is thereafter one can create emotional flashbacks for her by playing the soundtrack whenever she is around. The music is downbeat enough. Also, the hammer logos which appeared in the scenes where Pink imagines himself as a dictator were appropriated by the Hammer Skins to use as their symbol, so that should trigger her too, once it’s explained.