The French TV show “L’Effondrement”, already available on Filmin, shows the collapse of contemporary society as we know it
First it is the sporadic black-outs and communication problems, then the scarcity of food, gas, fuel… And in a just few days, society as we know it has turned into a chaotic jungle where only self-survival matters. This horrific and tangible premise of “The Collapse” (“L’Effondrement”), a Canal+ France production now available on Filmin, is probably set to become the biggest release of this Summer. And although this is not the first fiction with a grim future ahead (as we could see on the brilliantly filmed “Years and years”, “Black Mirror”, and “The Handmaid’s Tale”), this show comes at a particularly delicate moment in time, when viewers are still wrapping their minds around the current coronavirus pandemic that has exposed our own vulnerability.
The team Les Parasites made up by Jérémy Bernard, Guillaume Desjardins, and Bastien Ughetto, has produced 8 episodes of between 15 and 26 minutes in length on the gradual collapse of modern times based on the theories exposed by collapsology, a pessimistic line of thought that anticipates the end of industrial civilization. Each episode of this €2 million show depicts different characters and scenarios as the show delves into this apocalyptic nightmare. Anxiety levels are on the rise too. The only way out of this apocalyptic nightmare is the last episode of the show that goes back to the days that led to this catastrophe focusing on the ignored and overlooked climate causes.
“Collapse”, also acclaimed by French film critics, keeps another ace up the sleeve, a technical resource that just works beautifully: sequence shot. The camera follows the characters of different ages on real-time while it rests on the shoulders of the cameraman. There are no cuts or narrative ellipses while the camera shows the desperate decisions characters have to face whether stealing a car or a plane to escape or deciding to leave the elderly they were taking care of to die. The catastrophe looks closer to us and it is impossible to escape the characters’ own fears and emotions. And yet despite the fact that, as it happens with any apocalyptic scenario, decisions are more self-centered than solidary. While spooked by the whole thing, this makes viewers have to face their own fears on what would we all do.
An eco-friendly production
Consistent with the principles it stands for, “The Collapse” has been an eco-friendly production from start to finish. In a more and more eco-friendly movie industry, the film crew did its best to minimize the impact of filming the movie on the environment: plastic bottles were substituted for canteens, and individual cars for collective transportation. Also, catering included vegetarian local farm products, make-up was fully biological, and decorative elements were reused. Anything to hold these feared still foreseeable universes within the realm of science-fiction.