Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

27 October 2008

The Lottery

Director: Larry Yust
Writer: Larry Yust
Released: 1969
Cast: Olive Dunbar, William Benedict, William Fawcett, Joe Howarth

STEVE says: There's something to be said for a film that manages to be suspenseful and shocking, even though it has one of the most famous endings in literary history.

I tried to watch this as someone who wasn't familiar with the story, and it wasn't easy. Like the last ten minutes of The Wicker Man, where you just know Edward Woodward is going to be burned alive, but you're still waiting for someone to swoop in and rescue him - no matter how many times you've seen the movie. It was a lot like that. But I was able to appreciate the lead-up a lot more, knowing how it was going to turn out. Yust (and Shirley Jackson, it must be said) highlights the banality of evil before the audience is even aware that evil is in the picture. Genius.

After watching this short film, I'm reminded of the woman in Fahrenheit 9/11 who was pro-war until her son was killed. In The Lottery, Tessie Hutchinson - like everyone else in the town - is all for the lottery, until it affects her personally. Then, suddenly, "It isn't fair!" Considering "The Lottery" was published in 1948, this short was made in 1969, and the themes were still relevant in 2004... Well, "the more things change", I guess...


NIKKI says:
There's something about old farm-lookin' dudes from the backwoods that just creeps me out. And this has lots of 'em. But that's not the point of the story... so it is a famous story, and it's still as scary as it ever was. Amazing how after so many years and so many retellings you still sit there in shock that the townspeople are actually going to go through with the ritual. Maybe it's because after all those retellings, there's still no actual reason why they do it.

Steve and I decided the themes in the story have much to do with conscription and sending kids off to war. We openly and randomly choose names from a hat and send people to war to be killed. This is a simplified exploration of that very strange practice that, when laid out in this way, just seems insane. Like so many things, I guess.


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