With the rallying cry of its hashtagged title, Tom Gilroy’s #WaynesvilleStrong is a darkly comic and scarily plausible vision of a very near future in which low-wage work, enforced patriotism and the panoptic powers of the internet combine to create a pandemic hellscape that one laid-off meatpacking worker must delicately navigate, one videocall prompt at a time. The short was made quickly, in May and during quarantine, with everyone appropriately socially distanced, and to its great credit that what was political satire just two months ago is now turning into, with the current battles over “reopening,” political reality. The short stars Orange is the New Black‘s Nick Sandow, and the slow burn of his impatient anxiety as he subjects himself to the merciless probing of the government’s AI-fueled videochat adjudication system will create a frisson of recognition for anyone who’s been stuck on hold trying to receive their stimulus check.
Gilroy has been making independent films since the mid-’90s, with features including Spring Forward and The Cold Lands. In the conversation below, fellow director Jim McKay discusses with him the work’s relation to science fiction — particularly 1984 and J.G. Ballard, how the short was produced during quarantine with a iPhone 10, the influence of Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, and what it means for a work to be political today.
McKay: This film was conceived about a month into stay-at-home and made about a month later and finished a month after that. The world changed radically in those three months but the story stayed very relevant and at times is even more in-the-moment than when it was conceived. Can you talk about its inception and then how current events effected the work, if at all? Gilroy: The impetus in writing it was to respond in real time to the government roll-out of yet another unprecedented and mismanaged disaster. I never thought about what the script could be or where it could go. I’d just reached a point where there was no holding back; it was an almost unconscious act. This impulse was of course pressurized by the inability to leave the house, and some kind of “producer brain” must’ve instinctively kicked in where I realized quarantine dictated the piece would be a monologue.
“XXXX” is a series of digits – 1089 is “Mind-bending Movies”, for example; while 354 is “Movies Starring Matthew McConaughey” – currently a genre of one film.
Not all numbers will result in a subgenre, and given Netflix’s ever-changing algorithms, they might move around every now and then, while there may be regional differences meaning that some codes don’t work.
Codes for the main genres are available here. At the foot of the list is a link to a list of even more.
The thought of having to wait a decade for the Netflix take on the most staggering spectacle of our time – Prince Andrew’s interview – is torture
Does anyone else wish The Crown would get a bloody move on? Because, sure, despite the new intake of actors, the third season of The Crown is exactly the same as the previous two. It’s slow and staid and sumptuous, and largely about a very rich woman who basically has a very nice time without any sort of incident most of the time. It’s good and impressive and all, but there isn’t exactly a lot of high drama.
I can’t speak for everyone but the reason I keep watching is because The Crown is, to all intents and purposes, Better Call Saul With Corgis. The drama isn’t in what we see onscreen, but what we all know will definitely happen later. There will be death. Divorce. Windsor Castle will burn down. Prince Charles will get married to Princess Diana, but declare his wish that he was another woman’s tampon. Prince Harry will dress up like a Nazi. And Prince Andrew will deny having sex with a minor at the behest of the world’s most notorious billionaire paedophile shortly after having a pizza in Woking.
This last one has prompted the biggest crisis the monarchy has had to face for over two decades, and there’s a real sense that the whole thing will end in total disaster if it isn’t handled with extreme care. Everything is going wrong, and we still cannot rule out the possibility that The Crown will end with Queen Elizabeth undertaking the royal equivalent of opening a Cinnabon in Nebraska. That’s dramatic tension, not countless scenes of Prince Philip demonstrating an appropriate level of excitement about the moon landing. Continue reading →
It’s war between the locals and tourists in a Cornish fishing village in Mark Jenkin’s dreamlike masterpiece
Cornish film-maker Mark Jenkin’s breakthrough feature is a thrillingly adventurous labour of love – a richly textured, rough-hewn gem in which form and content are perfectly combined. A refreshingly authentic tale of tensions between locals and tourists in a once-thriving fishing village, it’s an evocative portrait of familiar culture clashes in an area where traditional trades and lifestyles are under threat. Shot with clockwork cameras on grainy 16mm stock, which Jenkin hand-processed in his studio in Newlyn, Bait is both an impassioned paean to Cornwall’s proud past, and a bracingly tragicomic portrait of its troubled present and possible future. It’s a genuine modern masterpiece, which establishes Jenkin as one of the most arresting and intriguing British film-makers of his generation [ . . . ]