Bad Batches and Bunnies — Another Sneak Peek
Quoting the Indiana University Cinema blurb for February 24: Set in a dystopian Texas of the future, THE BAD BATCH is a “post-apocalyptic cannibal love story,” as writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour describes it, “ROAD WARRIOR meets PRETTY IN PINK with a dope soundtrack.” This genre-breaking thrill ride won the Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and features a dream-ensemble cast of Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Jim Carrey, and Diego Luna. The film opens later in 2017. Director Ana Lily Amirpour is scheduled to be present. Asked herself afterward about PRETTY IN PINK, Ms. Amirpour allowed that was something she’d said in one interview and she’d never do it again, but she smiled when she said that. As for ROAD WARRIOR, there is a Mad Maxish ambience to THE BAD BATCH with scavenger societies, makeshift cities (one making use of an aircraft graveyard), and never-mind-where-the-gasoline-comes-from automobiles, though in this case more the speed of Vespas and golf carts.
Then another question: What was the significance of the bunny? Let us go back in time for a moment to Amirpour’s earlier movie A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT* and Masuka the cat (cf. January 19, 11 2015). Masuka acts there as a sort of marking figure, passed in ownership between people who become important; in this a bunny (unnamed in the credits unless I missed it) becomes the pet of a little
girl who in turn becomes the bond between principle characters Arlen and Miami Man. But beyond that, well, animals in some way may represent innocence and purity, Amirpour allowed, but (harking to another question too) this might not be a film to put too much stock in one-on-one symbolism.
What it is, though, she said is a “personal story of a girl who feels cut down, ripped apart by life,” as well as, as she was writing it originally, her “love letter to America.” She hastened to add, this was before current times with a President Trump. Yet a pervading image is that of a Texas desert divided by a wall, behind which are thrust the “bad batch,” the non-productive, the terminally ill, illegal immigrants (Miami Man was, originally, “a Cubano”), the homeless. . . . They then are further divided into two “cities,” The Bridge (so named from homeless who, in US cities, often take shelter under expressway bridges and the like), a machismo culture and also . . . cannibalistic, and Find Comfort, a more benign hippie-like civilization whose diet tends more toward pasta.** Needless to say, they hate each other.
So what is a girl to do — who’s already lost an arm and a leg (literally) to the dinner table? Or a doting father who’s lost his daughter, but wouldn’t turn his nose up at a human filet.
Might there be a third way?
But also beware, there’s a quality of dream, of fairytale about the thing too, of don’t always take too literally what you see. Be content instead to see beautiful images, though often enough combined with the grotesque — this is not a film for the faint of stomach! Enjoy the soundtrack, and worry not too much about details like where gas or electricity come from in the desert (or pasta, for that matter, or how many humanburgers it takes to sustain a weight-lifter physique). Or if the ending is, as we say in the romance biz, “happily ever after” or even, realistically, “happily for now.” Sneak previews aside (Friday’s screening was presumably the first outside the film festival circuit), THE BAD BATCH is set for a June 23 release by NEON according to IMDb and, when the time comes, just sit back and enjoy it!
*The night before, in fact, we got to see seven short films by Amirpour including the original A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, on which the feature-length version was based (although, in the short, without any cats).
**And, surely this is just my personal eccentricity, I couldn’t help seeing a parallel to this, and especially the ending, in the 1974 Sean Connery film ZARDOZ (see October 15, 2016). Or maybe I am nuts.