Saturday, 29 September 2012
Okay, normal services resume. Just taking a bit of a blogging break. Back now with news of new fiction, general genre chit-chat, questions answered and regular features like What Would Rob Do?, Nexus-6, Electronic Shoeboxing, A-Z of Influences and the ever popular Games and Puzzles.
Last night I watched a film called Cargo. Cargo stars Anna Katharina Schwabroh and is directed by Ivan Engler and Ralph Etter. It's a science fiction film, which isn't unusual. I have a wide range of genre interests but I tend to restrict my discussion of films, fiction etc on Rob Sanders Speculative Fiction to the science fiction, fantasy and horror. What is unusual about Cargo is that it's a Swiss science fiction film. It is the first and only Swiss science fiction film, to my knowledge. I beleive that this has led to Cargo being somewhat overlooked. It was made in 2009 but I can find very little in the way of reviews in British or American film magazines / websites.
In 2270 the Earth is uninhabitable and humanity lives on space stations in orbit. The wealthy and fortunate can move to the distant planet Rhea, however, that has been terraformed into an idyllic and sparsely populated paradise by deep space corporations. Dr. Laura Portmann's sister won a relocation lottery and now lives on Rhea. Portmann wishes to join her and accepts the post of medical officer on a long-haul cargo transport called the 'Kassandra' to raise the money to go.
When Portmann discovers an intruder on board in the colossal cargo section during her lonely watch she wakes the captain and security officer from cryogenic sleep. When they investigate the cargo section, the captain is mysteriously killed. Waking the rest of the crew, Portmann and the secuity officer try to get to the bottom of the captain's death. Who or what is in the cargo section and what does it have to do with Earth and Rhea?
I found Cargo to be a refreshing and interesting science fiction film. It isn't the best sci-fi film I've seen by a long shot but it surprised me how engaged I was by the mystery at the heart of goings on aboard the 'Kassandra'. There was a good deal of imaginative work evident in the script and visuals and actors did a good job with the material. It does its best to avoid cliches - for example, a HR Giger-inspired xenomorph does not slip out of the cargo hold and kill the crew one by one. That said, cliches are cliches because they have worked successfully many times over. The film had a style very much of its own, despite the fact that Ridley Scott's influence was definately in evidence (both Blade Runner and Alien). I think that lack of interest surrounding Cargo probably has more to do with second-language prejudice and a general audience averson to subtitles. If you can overcome these then I think you will find Cargo to be an interesting entry in the genre. Check out the trailer below. Cargo can be found on DVD and streaming package Lovefilm Instant.