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The Cloud Atlas: A few thoughts on the film


The Cloud Atlas is a very ambitious independent film based on the book by David Mitchell, published in 2004.  Directed by Tom Twyker, Andy and Lana Wachowsky, with a star studded cast (see link):

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1371111/fullcredits#directors
It is useful to look at the list of cast members and the various roles that each actor plays within the five incarnations portrayed at various times in the fairly recent past and future in order to better understand the meaning of the story.  It may require several viewings in order to fully assimilate the evolution of each of the characters.  I don’t intend here to undertake a full discussion of this interesting film.  I merely would like to discuss the portion of the film that relates to my blog: the reunion of masculine and feminine, which is nicely illustrated in the conclusion of this film.  Halle Berry plays a character in a future post-apocalyptic society, traveling aboard a streamlined white space ship.  She and her contemporaries dress in minimalistic garb, with a mostly monochromatic color scheme on the gray scale.  They have embedded circuits on their faces and bodies which seem to be a hybrid of jewelery, gadgets, and tattoos.  In this segment of the film, the society to which Halle Berry belongs is highly rational and possesses a well-developed system of technology.  For unspecified reasons, the civilization to which she belongs needs to find a new planet to inhabit, and we assume that their previous homeland has been somehow annihilated or rendered inhabitable.  Contrasting this monochromatic high tech culture is the macrame and tattooed neo-pagan world of Tom Hanks.  He lives in a lush valley surrounded by mountains inhabited by demonic horsemen, heavily armed and painted. Besides the blood-thirsty horsemen, a green-faced ghost reminiscent of the man Hanks tried to poison in a previous life, haunts the man Hanks plays in this incarnation.  He is married with children.  We observe scenes of family life and religious life, with a female prophetess or sorceress chanting incantations over a fire.  The decor is artful and organic – even the hairstyles recall woven tapestries.  Obviously, this world is close to the Earth and to an earth mother, with a matriarchal – based culture.  When Hank’s spouse and one of  his children are murdered by an attack of the painted tribe, he slits the throat of  the remaining attacker after caching his terrified remaining daughter under a curtained counter.  He sets out to the demon-infested mountains with Halle Berry.  Eventually, her space ship comes to pick them up, and Hanks and Berry become a couple.  We are fast-forwarded into their future, surrounded by little grandchildren.  The scene is interesting in that the two cultures have merged to become a hybrid of the rational minimalistic culture (masculine) from which Halle Berry was issued and the earthy neo-pagan culture represented by Tom Hanks (the feminine).  They now live together in a sleek modernist home reminiscent of the space ship on another planet.  The clothing and hairstyles remain inspired by the earthy culture, forming a nice combination of the two.  Also, all of the children (grandchildren) are a multi-ethnic mix, which contributes to the sense of balance, warmth, and return to happiness of the final scene.

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