Thursday Screener

20,000 Days on Earth, The Truman Show and The Edukators
Film+TV | 20 August 2020
This article is part of HERO Dailies – Essential culture, curated daily and also part of Thursday Screener

HERO DAILIES: Essential culture, curated daily
THURSDAY SCREENER: Three films that should be in your watchlist

20,000 Days on Earth by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard

From the moment Nick Cave explains, with devastating gravity, that this is his 20,000th day on earth, you know this is not going to be any formulaic music bio. Between documentary and fiction, this poetic and slanted film is befitting of the dapper Australian rock enigma. A personal analysis of his own life and creative processes, Cave takes us on a journey, physically and metaphorically, as he chauffeurs Kylie Minogue and Ray Winstone (separately) around his adopted home of Brighton, in his vintage Jag.

Directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (longtime collaborators of Cave’s), 20,000 Days on Earth marked the duo’s first feature film. Filtering their years of experience working on music videos, live performances and visual art, they created a work that merges all these mediums to create something entirely original. 

A thrill for fans and just as enticing for anyone who, up until now, has looked the other way, a trip into Cave’s head is as lyrical, witty and uniquely odd as they come. Seatbelts recommended.

Watch 20,000 Days on Earth on Netflix.

20,000 Days on Earth by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard

The Truman Show by Peter Weir, 1998

Ever get that eery feeling people are looking at you strange? Or that the world seems to shift in tune with your every whim? Watch The Truman Show and you could have your answer.

Spoiler alert: centred on the life of seemingly ordinary man Truman Burbank (superbly played by Jim Carey), as it turns out, he’s anything but. The reality is that Truman was raised by a corporation inside a simulated reality TV series based on his life, with each moment of his life being broadcast out across the world. As our protagonist begins to notice slips in his ‘world’ everything gradually unravels as reality dawns. Filmed in the generically named Seaside in Florida, a master-planned resort community, the town’s pastel and picturesque 50s sitcom aesthetic only adds to the catalogue facade Truman calls life.

Directed by Peter Weir and written by Andrew Niccol, the 1998 film plays like an extended version of The Twilight Zone (clearly influenced by Special Service, Season 3, Episode 29), creating a paranoid world that, considering the subsequent rise of reality TV, social media, artificial reality, and “fake news”, gets more scarily relatable by the minute.

Watch The Truman Show on Netflix. 

The Truman Show by Peter Weir, 1998

The Edukators by Hans Weingartner, 2005

When it debuted at Cannes, The Edukators was a shining example of Germany’s New Wave cinema that emerged during the early noughties. Characterised by low production budgets and digital, hand-held camera-work, The Edukators embodies the best of that movement.

A love triangle of Berlin-based anarchists, Jule (Julia Jentsch), her boyfriend Peter (Stipe Erceg) and his best friend Jan (Daniel Brühl), spend their nights breaking into the apartments of the city’s wealthiest residents. They don’t steal anything, just re-arrange the furniture and leave threatening notes like “die fetten Jahre sind vorbei” (“the days of plenty are over”) or “Sie haben zu viel Geld” (“you have too much money”). On one such night, in which they break into the apartment of a wealthy businessman whose Mercedes Jule crashed into (and finds herself saddled with a €100,000 debt), things don’t go as planned.

The businessman inadvertently becomes a hostage, and the remainder of the film is given over to the trio studying their own conscience while reckoning with their tangled feelings for one another. Turns out, the businessman was once like them, a socialist student activist whose principles became diluted with age and wealth. The revelation prompts some introspective soul-searching that culminates in a thrilling denouement.

Watch The Edukators on BFI Player.

The Edukators by Hans Weingartner, 2005

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