When I think of classifications regarding social inequality, Snowpiercer soon comes to my mind. It’s clearly a vision, almost drawed, of the society we live in currently and globally.
A train, on which people are divided by their social classes, which the most powerful occupy the first wagons and the less powerful the last ones, counting even with some wagons that are “forgotten” by others – which are those who didn’t have money to embark on the “salvation ark” that was built by white and absurdly rich people.
Nothing new under the sun of social inequality, right? Where lives are constantly measured by material gains and money to get away from penalties and the Law.
This is a subject that we, as young adults in our society – at least us here at Lune – simply cannot close our eyes to and pretend everything is a just a big live music festival. Here in Brazil, we can see inequality at our faces, when we go through neighbourhoods that a wall (that’s right: brick, stone, sand and cement) divide luxury houses from huge slums.
Where rich people, from influential families, who drive while drunk causing an accident are free under parole – when there’s some kind of sentence. While the poor, who usually doesn’t even know who they descend from, is arrested – serving years in prision – for trying to provide basic needs or, sometimes, just for being on the wrong time at the wrong place.
Ok, I promise I’ll take it easy regarding my social revolt.
This is a post to praise and talk about this magnificent work – the movie directed by Bong Joon Ho (Oscar winner for Parasite – another magnificent social criticism) and the series, starring the wonderful Jennifer Connelly.
Let’s embark together on this train (for the first time on this blog in which the subject is actually inside a train – I’m laughing) and get to know more about the divisions and subdivisions on this voyage that promises to guarantee life, but can’t deal with the basics of survival.
Welcome (or not) to the Majestic Snowpiercer!
The basis, for the book and for the Netflix series, is from a French series of post apocalyptic graphic novels: Le Transperceneige (or in English: The Snowpiercer), created by Jacques Lob and published in 1982 and 1983.
The movie with the title Snowpiercer had its release on 2013, under the direction of the already mentioned director Bong Joon Ho – who is South Korean, being this movie his first direction of something completely in English. An excelent director and screenwriter, mainly when the theme is social inequality – it isn’t by chance he got Oscars, not only for Best Director but also for Best Picture (the first in a non English language to win that category).
Ok, we already noticed a post only about Parasite will be here one of these days!
Apart from that amazing direction, the movie also counts with great actors, such as: Chris Evans as Curtis, our main character who represents the lowest class on the train, Tilda Swinton (an spectacle of an artist) as Mason, the train minister. Octavia Spencer as Tanya, we can call her the right arm of Curtis on the expedition, and Ed Harris as Wilford, owner and founder of the train. Many other amazing artists are part of this cast as well.
O filme com o título de Snowpiercer (traduzido para o Brasil como: Expresso do Amanhã), teve seu lançamento em 2013, sob a direção do já citado nesse texto Bong Joon Ho – que é sul-coreano, sendo que essa foi sua primeira direção para um filme totalmente em inglês. Um excelente diretor e roteirista, principalmente quando a temática é a desigualdade social – não é à toa que ganhou Oscar, não somente de Melhor Diretor como de Melhor Filme (o primeiro em língua não inglesa a ganhar na categoria).
Ok, já vimos que um post sobre Parasita vem por ai qualquer dia desses!
In 2020, Netflix decided to colavorate to broadcast and to produce a series about Snowpiercer and all its fight and story. Of course there are some things different from the movie – after all, it’s a new way of telling the same thing.
Under the vision of the director Josh Friedman, the series, that has its first season with ten episodes already available – and has already confirmed a second season! – counts with a few characters that are introduced to the public in a different way from the movie – and, also, with a few more details that were included to maintain so many episodes for the series, but that doesn’t spoil the magic from the movie.
On the cast, we have excelent actors and actressess, such as Jennifer Connelly, as Malanie Cavill, the train commander; Daveed Diggs as André Layton, who corresponds to Chris Evans in the movie, as main character of the less fortunate revolution; Katie McGuinness as Josie Wellstead, one of the most trusted by Layton along the other inhabitants that are put aside by the rest of the train; Among many others, who give life to characters that are going to make us suffer from love, empathy and, in many occasions, rage.
I, Hekate, as a person who has already watched to both contents (at least, the series, to the end of its first season) recommend you to watch both. Maybe in a few moments you’ll feel like having watched to two different stories, or notice some drastic differences, but, at the end, you’ll still notice and assimilate it’s talking about the same thing.
The general premise is one: to seek social equality or at least a more human treatment to all passengers.
And that’s what makes the plot shine, in my opinion: it doesn’t matter much which means – on this case, about the unraveling of the plot – when the beginning and the end are for the same objective and conquest.
Once I think it’s becoming a thing among my posts, today’s tip is: watch both the movie and the series and feel its impact with me.
To Which Wagon You Belong To?
The synopsis of the Snowpiercer, which was the inspiration for both productions, is:
“The winter has come and it might last forever! After a nuclear hecatomb that altered Earth’s climate and sunk it on an eternal Ice Age, humanity had no chance of survival. Except for a small group who found refuge in a train with revolutionary technology, the Snowpiercer. The locomotive represents humanity’s salvation and confines, on its thousand and one wagons, all hope of life in the planet.
Coexistance becomes the great challenge for the last representatives of the species, who rapidly adapt and organize life on the new habitat. At this moment, old mechanisms that took the planet to its destruction come back to life, including division of classes: the passengers are divided in “classes”, each in a wagon, being the poorer on the back and the richer on the front. The train is also a stage for racism, religion and alienation”.
Representing “humanity’s salvation”, the Snowpiercer is nothing more than a figurative form of the current society; Where the rich and influent are ahead everyone, usually using their influence to guarantee a superior life quality to any other human being from other classes.
The train division consists in:
First class: being the passengers who paid a heinous amount for their cabins – which look more like luxury apartments than normal households like the other inhabitants; except, of course, the lower categories – and who take the majority of decisions when things need “voting” or some intervention about any decision to be taken by the commanders and even those who have “direct” contact to the owner and founder of the train.
Second class: who has a little less influence than the first class passengers, but have better privileges and conditions than the other classes, such as more refined jobs – train drivers, stewards, massage therapists, chefs, etc… – and great and comfortable habitations.
Third class: where manual and less reference workers live; to feed, clean and entretain passangers of the first class and some of the second class, living in tiny spaces with the least sanitation possible.
And the back: place of the “refugees”, those who didn’t have means to buy a space on the train, but entered to try some kind of survival and live on the back of the train, alongside the boilers, treated as if they were absolutely nothing.
On Joon Ho’s movie, the revolution starts when a natural accident makes the train to divide itself in two. With the richest and more influent classes on the front, even with the accident problems they don’t want to give up their luxuries and good lives they had during all those years the train worked on its perfect state.
And the “inferior” classes, when they come together, use the fact that they are in a greater number to join forces and seek some kind of dignity and equal life conditions, or at least similar to all classes (the same dreams we have today).
On the series, it happens in a slight different manner. Murders start to happen and the victims are, mostly, from the third class. The news start to freighten passangers of all classes and by request of Wilford, a man from the back of the train, who was an investigative cop before the world froze, is recruited to solve this mystery.
While he is on the noblest parts of the locomotive, he finds out not only who committed the murders, but also other secrets of those who run everything – and that’s when he decides to bond the third class and the back so they end the lies and the great social differences among all.
A real dream of uniting minorites, that together become majority – but as in real life – a war happens and lives are lost unfairly, only because human beings tend to be selfish and greedy with the others.
I saw a lot of the society in which we live along this experience through the thousand one freezing wagons of Snowpiercer, and it isn’t something that shocks me. Maybe the fact that the original work was from the 80’s, not only makes me sadder with the current situation as society throughout the whole world, but because we understand that years – ok, not so many years, but many to which significative changes could have happened – have passed and here we are, in an extremely similar situation, living on our social and elitist Snowpiercer.
Where to Embark on This Train?
I forgot to say that the setting, even as a post apocalyptic dystopia, is breathtaking. All settings, wardrobe and characterization (specially in the movie) are flawless. And the cast – I could spend HOURS praising both casts.
Therefore, the links to where to watch those two marvellous works are below (updated in November 2020):