Monday, October 02, 2006

(The) Children of Men

The film Children of Men is based on PD James' novel The Children of Men. Very loosely based. Fans of PD James are likely to be disappointed. Her words, or the words of the main character, Theo, at the end of Chapter 21, are oddly prophetic: 'You can reduce everything, even this, to the level of a cheap feature film.'

The novel, published in 1992, posits that human fertility comes to an end in 1995 and the main action is set in 2021, when the 25-year-old youngest human dies. The 2006 film has the infertility starting in 2009 and sets the action in 2027, when the 18-year-old youngest human dies.

In the novel, Theo had had a wife, Helena, and meets a female activist, Julian. In the film, Julian had been, probably not his wife, but his 'partner' and had borne him a child. In both cases, the child is killed young - in the novel Theo runs over her accidentally, in the film by a 'flu pandemic.

The film works towards a denouement involving very violent scenes of street-fighting - Falluja replayed on the streets of Bexhill-on-Sea. Among the cuttings and so on that a character pastes on his wall as reminders of the past, there are handbills reading 'Don't attack Iraq' and 'Stop the war'. And, of course, Theo and Julian met at a 'demonstation where there were a million people.'

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