George Lucas’ sci-fi film THX 1138 (starring Robert Duvall and Pleasance) was recently remastered and released on DVD. As Lucas points out, the film was originally released in the 70’s, drawing on a variety of materialistic, consumeristic and upside-down issues in the U.S. The avant garde dystopia was way ahead of its time in cinematography, sound and production. The sound-track alone is stunning.
Lucas’ use of fuzzy pictures, minimal camera movement, and straight lines convey the atmosphere of a sterile future, where humans function in highly controlled underground society, much like Huxley’s Brave New World. In high irony, the central character, THX 1138, spends his days producing the robot police that rule over him.
Sex is prohibited, humans are on a steady diet of behavior conditioning drugs, and they confess their struggles to a picture of a Confucius looking Jesus, who responds with predictable tape-recorded lines: “You are a true believer. Blessings of the state, blessings of the masses. Thou art a subject of the divine. Created in the image of man, by the masses, for the masses. Let us be thankful we have an occupation to fill. Work hard; increase production; prevent accidents, and be happy.”
There is an familiar eeriness to these pat, pre-recorded spiritual answers, answers so many Christians spit out when challenged about their faith, in life or by opponents. Does this raise any thoughts or reflections?
Of course, there is a clear critique of Marxian ideals, of state-power over all aspects of life, of the state-as-religion. There are endless themes to discuss in this film. Rent it with friends and discuss it.