It’s been awhile since my last Indie Film Fest, but the indie film industry continues to flourish. Whether limited release or the direct-to-home market, the industry has benefited from digital platforms like Netflix and Amazon. This is not unlike how publishing and music has been revolutionized by technology, though the expense of filmmaking makes a bit more of a challenge. Nevertheless, these films often attract established stars and provide a refreshing counter to big budget spectacles (not that many of those aren’t great as well). Here are three post-apocalyptic choices that, like the best in the genre, explore the good and evil that simmers all around us:
In The Last Survivors, we find 17-year old Kendal trying to survive in the parched-out valley where her family once lived. Of course, there is a self-proclaimed “baron” who is trying to claim all land (and remaining water) so his group can survive. A very visual and well-thought out film which allows you to overlook some minor script or direction issues. A small-scale version of Mad Max or The Book of Eli with the classic post-apocalyptic story of the best and worst of people.
Snowpiercer finds the world’s survivors locked in a new ice age. Ironically, it was caused by the world’s governments trying to “fix” the climate – a little warning missed by most reviewers. If you can overlook a few plot issues – such as if they can keep this train running, can’t they figure out a stationary location? Who’s out there maintaining the tracks? – there are some great themes in here. Some see it as depicting class warfare, but it can seen as a warning over oppression and government meddling.
Z for Zachariah is a more subtle film. Not driven by typical action, but driven forward by the interactions and decisions of three survivors of the end of the world. Ann has survived the fallout in a shielded valley, alone for some time until two others stumble through. I think many reviewers failed to put themselves into the mind of the characters and what they would be thinking and decisions they would make, much like in The Road. It is also, at one level, a modern spin on Adam and Eve in a Garden of Eden.