Undergods: Chino Moya's visionary film of post-apocalyptic Europe

By Moira Sullivan

Undergods directed by Spanish helmer Chino Moya is a new film produced by Scott Free Productions, Ridley Scott's company and opens on VOD platforms and theatres May 10 . The film puts together an exceptional cast: Kate Dickie who we’ve seen in (The Witch, Game of Thrones), Ned Dennehy from (Mandy, Peaky Blinders), Geza Rohrig (Resistance, Son of Saul), Burn Gorman (Pacific Rim, Enola Holmes) and Tanya Reynolds (Emma, Sex Education).

This film is set in a dystopian future and post-apocalyptic Europe. It opens with two men driving around in an old truck picking up corpses. There is nothing friendly or warm about the people that we meet in the film and their motivations for life are the opposite of moral justice. There is no hope either where what was once a functional and prosperous economy is now self-imploding. Couples cheat on their partners, neighbors steal from each other and kill each other. The edifices of what was once a monolithic culture remain like the bombed-out Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin. The film integrates the aura of fallen east European regimes, the depression of the cold war and the rise of soul eating capitalism represented by palatial and chilling factories. During the building of these cultures the emphasis was on huge, cold and sterile buildings and statues, such as the fascist architecture of Mussolini in Italy. There is, however, within all this destruction and moral decay one vision for us today - that we are inching our way towards this future, towards the collapse of the planet by the willful destruction of nature. Without nature all that is left are the cinders and ashes of high tech culture that this film represents. The title is therefore appropriate, Undergods - living beneath the rubble and functioning as cleaners of the dead, of the rotten, of the past that brought them to this end. It is a warning and in some ways reminds me of George Orwell's 1984, the starving of humans for companionship , for knowledge for enlightment and the confinement of the mind. It is not a pretty film but it is well crafted. The three narratives in the film are told so well visually.

Undergod's world debut was at the Fantasia Festival in Montreal August 2020 where it was in competition. Past guests have been Guillermo del Toro, John Carpenter, Nicolas Winding Refn and Ken Russel. The 2020 festival profiled the work of nine women including Sabine Ehrl’s F FOR FREAKS and Faye Jackson’s Snowflakes.<

© 2021 - Moira Jean Sullivan - Air Date: 05/12/21
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