Michael Cook at mercator.net has an interesting article on Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film called Children of Men.
It depicts an ageing England in the year 2027, 18 years after the last child on the planet was born. The whole world has been afflicted by a mysterious and insoluble epidemic of infertility. There are no children. None at all. Nowhere. In about 50 years’ time everyone knows that men will have vanished from the earth.
It’s a fascinating premise drawn from a 1992 novel by the British mystery writer P.D. James, now Baroness (Phyllis Dorothy) James of Holland Park. Global sterility is science fiction, of course, but it is a projection of current trends towards lower and lower birth rates throughout the world. In 20 years’ time in many countries in Europe and Asia, the largest age group will be the over-65s, with the average age approaching 50 — the age of the hero of Children of Men.
His review touches both on movie and the book and the parallels to declining populations in Europe.
Cuarón, obviously a reader of the Guardian, hasn’t been consulting Mark Steyn’s doom-laden columns in the London Telegraph about effete Europeans who have forgotten that demography is destiny. Childlessness is clearly too trivial a theme to serve as anything more than an pretext for nail-biting action and brilliant cinematography. The film’s real topic is the Iraq War, the Palestinian conflict and European attitudes towards refugees.
Cuarón is a visual, not a cerebral, director. Even Mark Steyn will appreciate his images of a senescent Europe. Nearly everyone looks over 35. Children are just gut-wrenching memories. In one of many painful moments in the film, Theo saunters through a public library where middle-aged women are sobbing over computer screens with blurry images of smiling youngsters.
Mark Steyn’s new book America Alone also touches on some this in regards to demographics.
Relatedly, last night Mark Steyn hosted the Hugh Hewitt Show. Please someone get Mark Steyn his own show – he had me laughing and thinking throughout the three hours. At one point Mark Steyn and James Lileks were on together which had to be one of the highest concentrations of brilliance and wit ever on the radio.