Two interviews with George A. Romero, whose "Land of the Dead" opens tomorrow, both emphasizing that his movies have earned their place in the pantheon because of the societal criticism innate to each "of the Dead" installment. And also because of all the cool zombie gore. Robert Abele in the LA Times:
"Night" evoked Vietnam-era bloodshed and, with its black male lead trapped in a farmhouse, echoed civil rights hysteria. "Dawn" poked fun at soul-deadening consumerism. And "Day" addressed ethics in science. With "Land," Romero tackles issues of safety and boundaries, showing a community fortifying itself against a murderous horde while its wealthiest keep alive class divisions separating them from the powerless.
"It’s the folly of saying, ‘Everything’s OK, don’t worry about it,’" says Romero, who wrote "Land" before the events of Sept. 11. Its focus then was about "ignoring social ills, setting up a synthetic sense of comfort."
He says he didn’t have to tweak it much to reflect new fears of terrorism. When told that it’s hard not to think of Iraq watching an armored car of trigger-happy humans roll through a zombiefied suburb shooting anything they see, Romero smiles. "That’s one of the things I put in there afterward."
Scott Foundas at the LA Weekly is clearly a Romero fan, and his gushy intro is nearly the same length as the interview itself. He has the director talk about the evolving nature of the zombies in the latest installment.
The Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Kilian covers a far more unlikely vessel for subversive messaging: the rom-com. "The Girl in the CafÃ©," an HBO/BBC co-production, features Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald falling in love (ew!) at the G-8 conference in Iceland â€” nothing spells grand romance like a vampire lord, a Scandinavian island and a meeting of representatives from the industrialized nations. Apparently, over the course of the film Nighy’s awkward British bureaucrat is put into an increasingly uncomfortable position, as Macdonald’s character is outspoken about her political beliefs.
"I approached the film as a kind of Trojan horse," said director David Yates. "You’ve reached the audience [with the message] if you’ve made the audience feel it had a substantial interest in these people."
It’s an interesting attempt at sugarcoating ideology to make the message go down smoothly, but we doubt the film will reach or appeal to anyone whose beliefs aren’t already in line with the ones being presented.