Tuesday 16 February 2021

your house is on fire and your children are alone

Courtesy of a film recommendation by one of our favourite podcasts, The Flop House, we learn of the 1963, Oscar-nominated film by Frank Perry that analyses the psycho-social toll of the Cold War that really speaks to the uncertainty and the fears harboured over our current collective crisis and what totems we rally to preserve through selective ignorance. Set during the Cuban Missile Crisis (previously) from just a year prior, following the protocol of classroom drills, teachers escort their students home at a rural elemental school after a warning siren sounds. Absent independent verification on the veracity of the alarm, no one is sure whether it is a false warning, a test or not. Some of the students’ parents dismiss these distant, abstract events as they frantically search for a fall-out shelter that can accommodate them all. One girl is ejected, with the claim there is not enough space and goes off to take refuge in a discarded refrigerator—introducing that trope, though her classmates don’t abandon her or forget about her altogether.