Graffiti is the Oscar nominated short film by director, Lluis Quilez. In it we enter some sort of post apocalypse, where the last survivor, Edgar has learned to survive in a world without others, avoiding other contaminated areas, until one day he discovers some new graffiti on his wall. A name, “Anna”, is all that is written. They exchange messages back and forth until they decide to meet. It’s a commentary on how we connect today online, often confiding and trusting in those we know nothing about. This film, though in many ways a love story, is also a statement about our digital connection.
It Comes at Night – A strange plague has decimated the world’s population. A family has fled into the countryside and barricaded themselves in an old house to protect themselves from the sickness. When another group arrives, the family must decide if it is better to take them in (strength in numbers), or if they risk getting sick themselves. When the family suspects one of the others of being infected, the tension rachets up. It Comes at Night is a horror film without monsters, or zombies, or a deranged murderer. Rather, It Comes at Night posits that it is us, human beings, who are the monsters. This isn’t a hopeful movie, but it was original, suspenseful, and unlike anything I’ve seen in a while.
The Black Death (The Great Courses) – When bad things happen some folks like to escape to other worlds: fantasy, science fiction, beach-reads. Others like to engage the subject in one way or another. If the latter is your preference, The Great Courses’ The Black Death is a great way to touch on the subject matter, while keeping yourself at a distance from the constant flow of bad news. It’s long. 24 half hour episodes. You might learn too much about the digestive system of fleas, or graphic firsthand descriptions of symptoms, but it’s worth it. Dorsey Armstrong, professor of English and Medieval literature at Purdue University presents the lectures in detail, with a great knowledge of the world at the time, the factors that contributed to the Plague and its spread, and how it changed the world. It’s the last part that is the most interesting. Though it devastated Europe and many parts of the world, Dorsey Armstrong explains how The Black Death left a better world in its wake.