6. 1 sci-fi thing: "Code 46"
Since we'll be home for the duration, this newsletter will be highlighting bingeable content with Future themes.
- This edition: the 2003 genetic dystopia "Code 46."
Why you should watch it: In the near-future of "Code 46," China appears to be one of the few functioning economies left, genetic tinkering is rampant, and people can be prevented from traveling to certain countries because of disease. So, nothing at all like today.
Directed by British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom, "Code 46" focuses on an insurance adjuster played by Tim Robbins who is sent to Shanghai to sniff out workers suspected of forging "papeles" — documents required for people to transit between countries. He meets and falls in love with Maria (Samantha Morton), though it turns out that on a genetic level, they may share more than just their passion.
Of note: One of the most brilliant things about "Code 46" is the way it deftly sketches its future world in a few strokes.
- Everyone speaks mostly English, even in Shanghai, but they drop in foreign phrases like "ni hao" and "par avion," indicating the existence of a global pidgin.
- Robbins' character works for a company called "the Sphinx," which is technically in insurance but actually regulates the movement of people around the world through intensive data-gathering and surveillance.
- The prevalence of a deadly infectious disease means that many people are denied permission to travel unless they can prove immunity — hence the need for forged "papeles."
My thought bubble: So much in "Code 46" envisioned the world we live in today and the one that might endure after the pandemic — a world where individual health becomes the subject of pervasive surveillance. And yet the movie's main concern is human cloning — a fear from 2003 that has yet to become real in 2020.
- Also, the electronic score by the Free Association rocks.