My shrink today was talking about how amphetamines gave Phillip K. Dick both paranoia and second sight, and maybe they tie into each other on some far out dimension. That got me thinking about films from the past that have turned out to be trenchant myths prefiguring our current debacle in Iraq. Here is a quick overview along with links to where these eerie similarities are discussed more in detail.
1. THE EXORCIST (1973)
Though most of the film will end up taking place in Washington DC, the beginning is set in Iraq, where an age-old evil is uncovered. The link between DC and Iraq seems to be one of unconsciousness vs. consciousness, with Iraq as the dark archaic dream world, whose animus shadow ego “erupts” into Washington via the vulnerable youth of the tellingly named Reagan (sic!). More on this here.
2. THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998)
The relationship between the bumbling psychopath Walter, played John Goodman, and Washington foreign policy was very vague at the time — though the original Gulf war is prominently mentioned. Still, in today’s light, the suitcase of $$ can be read as a symbol for Weapons of Mass Destruction and you’re off and running. More on this
3. THE ATTACK OF THE CLONES (1999)
The nonexistent link between Iraq and 9/11 and the nonexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction are similar to the iffy reasons for war generated by the shady dealings between the Emperor (Bush) and Christopher Lee (representing the interests of the Saudis). Nothing like some well-timed terrorists to help a shady leader seize control of the senate and initiate a fascist dictatorship! To paraphrase Charles Foster Kane, imagine Bush as the Emperor saying to Christopher Lee, “you bring the terrorists (i.e. tell your brother Osama to get his ass in gear) and I’ll bring the war.”
4. MANDERLAY (2005)
Recent enough not to count as inordinately premonitive, this acidic meditation on American interventionism still gets mad props for its sheer reckless chutzpah and the fact that Von Trier predicts our current situation 2-3 years later with a dastardly “I told you so” calm. Deborah Cole writes about this one here
Any others you can think of?