Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Beneath Us (2019)

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this is that - unlike say 1983's El Norte- you could imagine MAGA-cap wearing Trump supporters finding some soothing confirmation of their worldview here. In the main they are hardly what you would call knowledgable consumers of irony. At a stretch it could even be used south of the border as a propaganda film for ICE, a sort of soft alternative to the wall. Nevertheless, for liberals at least, this is a satirical, 'social' horror about undocumented migrants being used as captive slaves by members of the wealthy white elite in America. Yet I suspect it could just as easily have been set right here in Antigua within the milieu of a certain kind of gringo household complete with casual, grey economy servants. Such a switch would work primarily because director Max Pachman stresses two rather interesting points - that the view of the 'dream' of abundance from beneath is inherently corrupt and conjoined with noxious attitudes, and that said prosperity is ultimately also a travesty — for the affluence of those above is shown to be entirely based on the aggressive exploitation of an over-needy underclass operating in a more authentic economy and thus largely undeserved. And this is why, when (slightly unflattering) comparisons will inevitably be made with Jordan Peele's Get Out (2017), the movie I was most reminded of was the excellent La Zona (2007).

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