“Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive.”- Ursula K. Le Guin.
When we are brought into this world, our parents raise us using their knowledge and experiences. With that in mind, we try to navigate, explore and, to some extent, live the life we want for ourselves or what they think we want in this life. But as we gradually come of age and reach that transition of becoming a person wanting stability in life through livelihood, we come across different forms of injustice and simultaneously lose or drift away from those whom we felt were our comrades or companions. When we notice and experience these changes, what do we do? Do you fight with what life is giving you, or do you just accept that change so as to not compromise on your happiness? In this blog, we’ll delve into that through the film “Snowpiercer”, also known as 설국열차 (A Train in a Snow Country).
“Snowpiercer” is a 2013 sci-fi dystopia action film directed by Bong Joon-ho (in his English directorial debut). It stars Chris Evans in an ensemble cast alongside Tilda Swinton, Song Kang-ho, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, and John Hurt. Based on the French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige,” this film focuses on Curtis Everett, one of the individuals living in the tail section of the autonomous train Snowpiercer. He’s a part of the population surviving this ice age, inside the train, that has destroyed life on Earth due to the scientific experiment of stopping global warming through aerosol injection backfiring disastrously. Taking the advice of his father figure Gilliam, Curtis, and his right-hand man Edgar decide to revolt against the oppressive class system that continues to benefit the elite living in the front section of the train. Whether their revolution succeeds or not forms the crux of the film’s story.
If we look at the music video of Spring Day, we see a train constantly running with seemingly no end in sight, and only Jungkook as a passenger. At the same time, other members of BTS are busy with leisure activities in Omelas. But gradually, the six BTS members sense that something is amiss, and so they were able to save Jungkook from further suffering. The video ends with BTS stepping out of the train where they see a tree in the distance. On the contrary, in “Snowpiercer”, the labor of the population living in the tail section of the titular train is being used to keep the train running so that the front section’s luxury remains unaffected. This oppression is the primary reason behind the revolution led by Curtis. But Curtis is in for a shock when he finds out through Willford (a magnate who runs the train) that he and Gilliam conspired for this revolution to happen to reduce the tail section’s population to sustainable levels. Before he does anything, Namgoong’s (who designed the security features of the train) daughter Yona opens the train’s floorboard to find the two children, Timmy and Andy, working with its engines. Curtis loses his arm while saving Timmy and, with Yona’s help, causes the explosion that derails the train. Yona and Timmy then step out of the train, where they notice a polar bear looking at them.
The common thread between “Snowpiercer” and Spring Day’s music video is suffering and the possibility of hope’s existence. In the film, the people living in the tail section of the train are constantly grinding and being surveilled by the guards, the food they eat is not adequately cooked (they are given a “protein block”), and when they are called for tasks by the guards, they don’t come back from the front section. The whole tail section starts preparing for the revolution when Andy’s father, Andrew, is tortured in front of everyone after fighting with the guards as they were taking his son away. In a pivotal scene, Namgoong notices a snowflake entering Snowpiercer’s window, indicating that life still exists.
Given that we live in a polarizing world, there’s always a gnawing feeling that tells us, “Will everything be okay? Issues keep piling up globally, not just here in [your location]”. We may not have an answer to that at the moment, but we can work towards it to ensure that others don’t face the same issues. After all,
“It will be morning again /
Because no darkness, no season /
can last forever.”
Written By: Anugya
Edited By: Lisa
Designed By: ThornToHisRose
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