RR Films: Futility

So that’s it then. The ball is rolling, the timid resistance of the Lords being the final attempt to guide its direction in any way. Resistance is futile.

Sorry, but I don’t really understand where the world is going any more, and trying to find positives seems futile too (well, almost: I got an A-lister for the RR Songs topic…).

But there’s often black humour to be found in futile situations, even when the local authority decides it’s going to take your property and destroy you in the process. As in Leviathan:

What films featuring futility would you recommend?

23 thoughts on “RR Films: Futility

  1. A lot of late 1930s French films were concerned with disillusion and futility even to the extent that they were banned by the Vichy government of 1940 for being “too demoralizing”, one good example is ‘Le Jour se leve” starring the brilliant Jean Gabin who works in a foundry and falls in love with a florist. Unfortunately for him she is besotted with an older man (Jules Berry) who performs on stage and is a particularly unpleasant character. He convinces Gabin that the florist is his daughter and their relationship is purely platonic. However Gabin discovers this to be a lie and confronts Berry during which he shoots Berry, killing him. The police trap him in his bedsit room and just before they launch a final attack on him he shoots himself !

    Another film in very much the same vein is Quai des Brumes, also starring Gabin

    • Yes, I thought about “The Hill” too, and , funnily enough “The Bridge On The River Kwai” too, but I dismissed the latter, because I wasn’t sure that the bridge-building was actually an exercise in futility. I think that “The Hill” is a good call, though.

      • Thanks. I’ve actually had a think about this and most of what I can think of are war films from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s/early 1980s, thinking of “Southern Comfort” there. Anyway, I finally thought of Mike Leigh’s “Naked”. Lots of futility in that film. 😦

      • Cheers.

        When Brian, who guards empty space, is the one arguing that there has to be something more to life, then you tend to agree with Johnny. And Louise thinking that she can return to Manchester with Johnny and start up a new life up… Well, that was never going to come to fruition.

  2. This is a tough one. A film I haven’t actually seen – Bridge on the River Kwai. One I have seen – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

  3. I’ll suggest The Firemen’s Ball and from here Mirchi, which is the Hindi word for Chillies. Set in a small village dependent on the spice crop. With Smita Patil leading an ensemble cast.

  4. My favourite film of 2015 was “A Pigeon Sits on a Branch, Reflecting on Existence”. I suppose the director might dispute that it is about futility but…
    The two joke & novelty salesmen who constitute the only running narrative are engaged in a futile quest. To bring laughter and happiness into people’s lives. They clearly have no chance. Two of the most lugubrious and inept characters you are ever likely to meet.
    None of the other characters who pop up in the film seem likely to find much resolution or success either.
    I thought it was funny and moving. A lot of other people thought it was pretentious toss. That’s life.

    • I got round to seeing that a few weeks ago, sev. I think I enjoyed it… Rather like a Stewart Lee gig: dry, downbeat, tangential and with lots of verbal repetition. In the right mood, great; in the wrong mood, quite annoying 😉

      • I saw it at the Curzon, Bloomsbury (previously The Renoir) in a very good mood, sittiing in a very comfy seat with no one sitting behind me and drinking a cup of fresh coffee.

  5. How about “Enduring Love” – not sure if others would agree. A couple witness a ballooning accident in which they are unable to help, and a man falls to his death trying to save a boy in the balloon (who is ultimately unscathed). A strange series of events follows, involving stalkings and stabbings and misunderstandings; at the end of it all the couple are scarred by the experience (literally, in the woman’s case) and it has driven a wedge between them. Their efforts to help were futile and no one lives happily ever after.

  6. Catch 22 – A pretty faithful adaptation of the book

    American Beauty – The futility of conformity (or something).

  7. Another one on the bucket list that I haven’t yet seen, and I’m not sure yet that I’m up for the bleakness – Requiem for a Dream.

  8. A bit trickier this week, and some films I haven’t come across before.

    In Synecdoche, New York, I’m pretty sure Caden Cotard ends up convinced that, despite all his efforts, his life was completely futile.

    For those with access to Film4 and who haven’t yet seen it, Ida is on there at 11.15 tonight. Highly recommended.

  9. I’ve finally thought of one! It is À bout de souffle (“Breathless”), directed by Jean-Luc Godard, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo as a petty criminal. Belmondo plays a petty criminal who kills a policeman. His while life is essentially shiftless and futile.

  10. I saw Elle yesterday. It is the best film I have seen for a while, mainly because it led me by the nose through a strange landscape of conflicting emotions and attitudes that, ultimately, made consistent sense. Huppert is magnificent, delivering a balancing act of skill and truth that it is difficult to imagine anyone else achieving. A film that stays in your mind long after the credits.

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