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quietearth [Film Festival 09.03.09] Sweden movie review scifi animation

Year: 2009
Directors: Tarik Saleh
Writers: Tarik Saleh & Fredrik Edin & Martin Hultman & Stig Larsson
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Luiz Ricardo Lopez
Rating: 9 out of 10

[Special thanks to Luiz Ricardo Lopez, who, while doing some PR work at Venice, has offered to write reviews and so, our coverage begins with t(his(?)) paranoia. And an extra special thanks to Marina Antunes for her editing magic!]

Tarik Saleh, once a graffiti artist now turned filmmaker, shows us his chops inviting the viewer into an animated story which takes place in the Europe of 2024. In this future, the continent is interconnected via a subway system implemented by the Trexx Corporation. Roger, the film's protagonist, has a typical job and a "normal" life but doesn't take the metro because he believes that there is a government conspiracy which allows the government control over citizen's minds via the media. Little does he know that his fear of government surveillance is warranted and that a popular dandruff shampoo is laced with a microchip which turns human hair into an antenna that allows the government to control the public by replacing their inner voices with those of government workers. To appease his boss who is constantly questioning his choice to ride a bike to work rather than the metro, Roger decides to take the metro into the office. On his commute he spots Nina, the beautiful woman in the shampoo ads. He follows her despite his inner voice telling him otherwise. Nina confronts him, asks if he hears voices in his head and though he denies it, she reveals to him the truth explaining that his life is in danger if he discloses the top secret information she has shared about government conspiracy, media mind control, and global warming.

METROPIA is an amazing film and the interesting use of animation has piqued my curiosity to see more Swedish and Nordic anime. It's unlike typical cgi films and makes for a great entry into the canon. It's also refreshing to see this type of variety in the animation presented at the 66th Venice Film Festival especially when one takes into consideration that Disney and Pixar will be debuting TOY STORY 2 in 3D on Sunday September 6th, at which time a number of veteran animators will be receiving a Golden Lion award for their career achievements; the old and new together.

The dystopic animation style of the film makes futuristic Europe believable and gloomy. Though it's animated, the film presents a well thought out story and developed plot which is believable and engages from beginning to end. Adding to the already moody setting is the amazing sound track which is carefully matched to the onscreen action. The film's opening credits create an air of oppression by mixing visuals reminiscent of a police searchlight mixed with a bleak, rainy day but METROPIA isn't simply interested in looking good because the filmmaker puts forth some big ideas that force the audience to think.

The film puts the mind to work by presenting a hero who gets little for his services aside from a bit of normalcy and a girlfriend who is no longer possessed by the most popular TV show on the air “Asylum”...a great name for a show wouldn't you say? It certainly beats the current cacophony of retardedness on the tube. Television is already an asylum for the mentally challenged seeking to be "inside the box". I'm sorry to inform you that normalcy, or at least the normalcy presented on TV, is for losers. Or rather TV is for the challenged while cinema is for the strong. But Saleh isn't referring to just any cinema. He's referring to good cinema. Perhaps Roger manages to break free from the government's mind control because he did not watch TV. This film shows that you can still escape the clutches of MTV and Adult Swim if you keep your mind open. Besides simply entertaining, the film encourages its audience to escape life on the couch watching shit-ass reality TV. Maybe the biggest loser is you if you don't look outside mainstream TV and watch some underground, non-corporate TV. Sorry Viacom but I am over you. I'm moving to the North Pole and getting my information locally. Hopefully, your signals don't make it there.

Thank you Northern European countries for financing this film. If only the U.S. Had a stimulus package to make good art films like this one rather than the continuous barrage of reality trash currently circulating the TV networks. This animated film refuses to fit into the mold and is not your cookie cutter, mind melting production like those being produced by some of the major Hollywood players. In Saleh's animated world, Mickey travels through the sewers and doesn't need 3D to show that animation can be revolutionary and that it can be used as a powerful weapon to encourage thinking outside the box.

I would watch this again and will be telling my friends to keep an eye out for it. And to the filmmaker...when will the soundtrack be available for purchase?

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Jonas (12 years ago) Reply

I'm so jealous you get to see this. There isn't even a release date for the movie yet here in sweden. :(


Kristina Aberg (12 years ago) Reply

Lovely that you liked our film. The swedish release will be 27 nov (prel)
best regards direct from Venice. Stellan Skarsgard, Vincent Gallo and Tarik Saleh our doing interwiew after interwiew with press from all over. kristina


Thomas (12 years ago) Reply

images from metroia
The Art of Metropia

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