Bendito Machine: some thoughts

The film makes no bones about which side of the utopian/dystopian debate it aligns itself with. In Hand and Sandywell’s (2002) terms, the film sees technology as anti-democratic, shovelling aside individuals. It also clearly involves high and low culture in its discourse.

The effects of the technology are desensitising and dehumanising (there are echoes of Anthony Burgess’s Clockwork Orange in the violence on screen with a super-imposed happy soundtrack) – and no-one seems at all bothered about the casualties! The people are passive consumers for the most part (very like the girl and boy in InBox) – they have thin little arms which seem incapable of much – and although the tech becomes dysfunctional and toxic (gasmasks!), the people are dependent and worship.

The bit I liked the most was when one of the people goes back to the mountain (a little like Simon in Lord of the Flies, for whom there is nothing else to do but confront the horror). I thought he was going to challenge the techno-gods, by hurling his little rock, but in the end he simply buys in and brings on the next, more powerful and dangerous piece of tech. Technological determinism very much in evidence. The society is a direct product of its tech – unfeeling, desensitised and insignificant.

The Dalek image at the start of Chandler’s (2002) web-essay is highly relevant.Image

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