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The idea behind this blog is to share my opinions about Post-Apocalyptic Literature, Films and Ephemera as well as my random nattering on a regular basis.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Further Adventures of Anse and Bhule In No Man's Land a film in review.

 Anse and Bhule was filmed in 2013. It's an older film that has been slowly getting more attention. I wish I could say that I had stumbled onto it by accident. It had been available to me for free after all. It's included with my Amazon Prime account. It's tucked away fairly deeply in the drama section and there is way I would have found it without a guide.

Although I did enjoy it, I have to pass along a warning: It's a commitment to watch. It's strange and for the first 20 minutes or so, it's difficult to figure out what is happening and what the plot is. Hang in there though a story does emerge, quite a good one too.

I read a lot of apocalyptic books and watch all the films I can in genre as well. It comes to no surprise that when I read or watch new books I describe them in comparison to other books and movies I have enjoyed. Same case here.  Anse and Bhule reminded me of a mix of a book called The After/Life by Vardan Partamyan and Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban with a dash of Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon tossed in too. Lastly it reminded me of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

Don't worry, I'll tie it all together here in a minute.

The movie first caught my attention for two reasons. First it had been adapted from a stage presentation. It was done live in other words and I wish I had known about it because the troupe is located in Portland Oregon; very nearby. Second because the setting is just across the border into Washington in the canyon country.

As the film starts it's set in what I think is a catholic boys orphanage. An event happens and based on the effects later it was a nuke. The film flashes forward and we follow two of the boys, now grown into young men as they play out the rules of the society that they were raised in. This is similar to events in The After/Life. When the nukes hit they all retreated to an underground bunker (like what must have happened to  Anse and Bhule).  Instead of a culture that has a society based on Catholicism arising in that bunker, they had society based on school. The leader was The Principal and his underlings were Teachers.

Over the years since 'The Bust Up' their language had degraded so much that at times it was difficult to understand. I was glad after a while that there was a subtitle option so I could figure out the strange dialect. It is English just unlike any I have heard before. It reminded me a lot of the lingo that was used in Riddley Walker.

The main part of the story centers on the boys, who have grown up without adult intervention and are mostly wild like that band of children Max stumbles on after he faces The Wheel. The rules they follow are a mixture of the Catholic teaching they had as youngsters, their fears, as well their thoughts about how the world works. They have become Clubbers. They roam the wasteland in attempt to clean it up. And by 'cleaning' I mean they go wander and when they meet someone who looks sick (radiation poisoning) or looks hurt or wounded they club them to death and then ritualistically dismember and burn the body. Much like Roland and Maklin in Swan Song; they think the creatures are unclean and perhaps evil.

A crisis of conscience arises when Anse Clubs an older woman while her daughter is nearby. As an orphan, Bhule has no real memory of a mother but in an instant of epiphany realizes how badly he wants one and also what it means to have taken one from the woman.

I enjoyed the movie. It does take some time before an understanding of the plot makes itself apparent, don't let that keep you from watching. You'll soon find yourself pulled into it.

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