hope of an outside world
January 28, 2011, 12:46 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , , , ,

“I’ve heard it will be [epic],” said Miss Emily the head mistress from the stage of a gloomy auditorium to a rapt audience of beautiful well behaved English school children.  This is the daily meeting at the boarding school called Hailsham during the 1980s in south England.  And a spontaneous cheer rips through the room, one of the few moments of raw group emotion in the new film Never Let Me Go based on Ishiguro’s novel of the same name.

And, true to her word, in the very next scene, a truck pulls into the school yard and two men unload cardboard boxes past a cluster of kids and into the school.  A little blond girls asks one of them, “Is it [epic]?,” and the man — he seems in on a joke — says that yes it is.  Another emotional flare as the small cluster jump up and down squealing with delight.  The men are wry and hesitant; they look like farmers.

And it turns out the box carriers were in on a rather sick joke:  the contents of the boxes, worn out, used toys and play equipment and cassette tapes and comic books and general brikabrak are strewn over long tables in a large hall and the students excitedly barter for them with chips they have been saving.  These worn sad things, the objects of our acquisitive lives, are to these children the hope of an outside world.

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