I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, dystopias are all about aesthetics. If you don’t have multicolored uniforms for your citizens to wear, a leader who resembles a ballpoint pen, or distorted, warped monstrous animals who you use to hunt revolutionaries, you shouldn’t be allowed to call your society a dystopia. At that point, it’s just a dictatorship or an oligarchy. Only countries who value aesthetics can transform their political hellscape into a true dystopia. Why do you think so many cinematic futuristic movies are set in Japan? All that said, the ultimate indication that you are in a dystopia yourself or watching a dystopia set movie is the iconic futuristic club scene.
Unsure of what I am talking about? Let me provide some examples. A classic iconic futuristic scene can be found in a film that often transcends genres, but completely nails the dystopia vibe is The Matrix. Long black trench coats, sunglasses, and one of the best futuristic club scenes in recent memory. The directors of that film really stepped it up a notch with the cage dancers in the club, that’s taking it to the next level.
Snowpiercer presents the club scene in a new and innovative way that I really appreciate. Not only is the entire club full of the most fascinating looking people, but it is contrasted with Curtis’s rugged appearance. I love it so much. But it doesn’t end there. The club dancers come back later for an epic bridge fight and that was what solidified that movie as a dystopia in my mind. It wasn’t the story or even the compelling acting, but the aesthetics that said it all.
I could go on and on, but instead, I want to use the rest of our time together to tell you what I want to see for the future of futuristic clubs in dystopia movies, because I have some ideas.
First of all, this is the perfect opportunity to go for best original song at the Oscars by having a performer at the club give us a full show. Make it someone relevant but unexpected to really sell it, like P!nk or Childish Gambino. From there, you got it made in the shade. As long as the song is catchy, it literally doesn’t matter.
Second, more cages.
And finally, thirdly, lastly, please figure out how to light these scenes. Obviously Bong Joon-Ho knows what he is doing, but otherwise these club sequences can be impossible to enjoy because it’s impossible to see. Just, light it properly and you’ll have it made.