Snowpiercer

The scene I wanted to focus on was the one in which Curtis and others from the tail section entered the school room. This scene contains a lot of very religious language and clear signs of propaganda and indoctrination. A lot of what we see in this scene has a very cult-like feel. When the teacher plays the video, the student’s all shout “Wilford” and make ‘W’ signs with their hands. The teacher describes Wilford as “prophetic” and the train is referred to as “sacred” and “eternal.” The children sing a song, with very religious undertones, by heart which implies that they have been introduced to it many times before. The bastardization of religious ideas is important because it shows just how much power Wilford has over the people of his train. To them, the train is heaven and he is God. The vast majority of passengers do not realize what is actually going on and believe exactly what Wilford wants them to, without question. Personally, I found this scene somewhat disturbing for these reasons.

Viewers also begin to see just how different life on the train is for the “front sectioners.”  This is only the third or fourth front-section car viewers see, but the colors are easily the most vibrant. The colors viewers see up until this point are mostly shades of brown and gray, but upon entering the front section, there are many more vibrant and clean colors, which certainly speaks to the decadence that the passengers of the front section enjoy.

This scene really shows why the tail sectioners feel they deserve more. It is clear that the front section has more than enough resources to be able to share equally. While life would not be as extravagant as it is now, it would be comfortable for all. If not for the obvious indoctrination and greed of the front sectioners that this scene introduces viewers to, there probably wouldn’t even be an issue. This movie really uses climate fiction as a frame to effectively to speak about ideas of revolution and control in ways that many others don’t do, and that was really refreshing to see.

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7 thoughts on “Snowpiercer

  1. I really like how you pointed out the difference in the color between the tail and front end of the train. The grey and black colors presented in the tail of the train makes the viewer realize and feel sympathetic for those who lived in the tail of the train.The colorful and lively colors used in the front end of the train shows how comfortably and luxuriously people lived there. This makes the viewer see the difference between the class systems.

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  2. To be honest, I didn’t see much of the movie but I do agree that the upper class is rather controlling. I remember that one man attacked a guard because they took his son and as punishment, they put his arm outside the train and let it freeze. Once the arm was completely frozen, they shattered it in front of the other low class passengers. In the seven minutes it takes to freeze the limb, the woman gives a long speech about “sacred” order and quotes about how a shoe is not a hat and “I (the woman) am the head, you are the feet”. She is using a complex logical fallacy to keep the passengers in line and breaking the frozen arm is intimidation against the more unruly passengers. That being said, the first thing that came into my mind was the Soviet Union, not a cult.

    Jiapeng Zhao

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  3. This movie reminded me a lot of the Hunger Games series in terms of the way that the people are treated. Much like the different cars on the train being treated different class wise, in the Hunger Games there are different districts and the higher the district (districts 1, 2, 3, etc.) the higher class you are. Much like the higher the train car, the higher class. The people in the lower class (districts 10, 11, 12, etc.) will be treated like dirt, they are poor and the people of higher class do horrible things to them. Just like the front sectioners do to the people who are poor. There are alot of similarities between the two movies which made it easier for me to understand what was going on.

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  4. It’s interesting that you point out that the indoctrination happening in the classroom portrays Wilford as a god. I think one of the most puzzling parts about the entire film is understanding the final conversation that happens between Wilford and Curtis. There is just so much going on in this scene that lends to the idea that the conversation seems to be occuring with some kind of grand architect or even deity.

    Note the cinematic cues as wilford begins explaining that at times the population had be reduced “rather drastically”. The camera begins to push in on Wilford’s face, fashioning suspense and inferring a big reveal, and a quick cut to his assassin massacring unarmed tail-end passengers. Then, suddenly, a cut to him eating his steak. Time has been very obviously spliced but the conversation continues from it’s previous point. Something about his level of control over the world of the train seems to go beyond science fiction and almost supernatural.

    Knowing this, I think it’s totally worth closely examining Wilford’s speech for a greater understanding of the film’s message – beyond the obvious commentary on class hierarchy and social indoctrination that keeps it in place.

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  5. I also found this scene to be quite disturbing. The passengers in this cart are just so accepting of what they are being taught without any question, and the fact that they are being taught that Wilford is basically their God on this train just shows how much is being kept from them about the back section of the train.

    This movie demonstrations extreme classism and they idea of breaking up the classes by train carts and the closer the cart to the front is, they’re much more well-off is very similar to the way the classes are treated in our American society today. The more well-off classes (upper class) can sometimes be blind to all of the bad things that the lower class people have to go through, sometimes it’s just a struggle to feed the entire family one night. By setting this movie in a time where civilization is supposed to be extinct, it’s still interesting to see how the classes are still treated differently even in this time of disaster.

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  6. I thought that it was interesting that you brought up the religious undertones of the of the film because I agree with you. I saw them specifically in the ending of the movie. To me, the final scene had a very Adam and Eve quality. Two young people find themselves in a world with a hope of life (the polar bear). Because of their youth it can perhaps be argued that they have a degree of innocence, and they are certainly “innocent” in regard to the environment. They aren’t old enough to remember what life was like off of the train. However, this scene may be perceived as being cast out of Eden instead of being cast into it. They certainly did not just find themselves in the Promised Land.

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  7. I also like the idea of how colors are used in your analysis of the train. I feel as though it is not until the classroom scene that we see an abundance of pinks, yellows, and many other bright colors. In the earlier parts of the movies, the lighting is dark, and there are lots of neutral colors depicting the dirt and horrible living conditions of the tail sectioners.

    When I first watched this film, I was beginning to notice extreme radical forms of religious ideal formulated over time within the movie. The classroom scene was a great scene where the audiences see, through the children, how the “benevolent Wilford” is a higher symbol of a God. It shows that as humans, we rely on religion or religious ideals to help explain the unknown and provide comfort to those circumstances that make us uncomfortable, even in a post-apocalyptic setting.

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