Mad Max no longer takes place in the future | Babelia
In the first three films of the Australian apocalyptic series Mad max, released in the seventies and eighties, road warriors fought for gasoline. In the fourth, Mad Max Fury on the road, which hit theaters in 2015, the war is over water. There is no single cause that explains the fire surge which has hit Australia, the most devastating in the history of the immense country, but drought and extreme temperatures are the main, direct consequences of climate change. The crisis in the continent island was already in its literature and in its cinema: the difference is that now it seems that the most alarming future has arrived.
"Post apocalyptic fiction has moved to the current section," read a poster in the bookstore of the town of Cobargo, in New South Wales, which was at the epicenter of the fires. Australian writer Richard Flanagan told this anecdote in an article in The New York Times titled ‘Australia commits climate suicide’ to describe the feeling that a kind of armageddon had fallen on his country, with 26 dead, millions of hectares destroyed - only in New South Wales an area equivalent to Denmark has been burned - millions of dead animals, thousands of people trapped on the beaches, cornered between the flames and the sea, waiting to be rescued, and an irrespirable air in its main cities, normally airy, wooded and beachy.
Flanagan assured that the situation in his country seemed like a cross between Mad max Y The final hour, a sci-fi movie of the fifties, in the middle of the cold war, in which a nuclear disaster has killed humanity and only a handful of humans survive on an Australian beach. He also cited the Flemish painters Bruegel and El Bosco, which is still curious because above all the first embodies the so-called Little Ice Age, with its frozen landscapes in the Netherlands, which reflect the brutal drop in temperatures experienced by the World in the 17th century. The Australian fiction knew how to reflect the threatening future that stuck in an increasingly closer horizon.
In the first films of Mad max, starring Mel Gibson and directed by George Miller, the key was gasoline: in a world destroyed by a nuclear apocalypse, fuel had become the most precious asset. Bands of savages fought against groups of humans trying to rebuild something resembling a civilization. However, when Miller resumed the series in 2015 with a film that has appeared on many lists of the best of the decade, the key this time was in the water.
The group of fugitives fleeing from the ugly and deformed bad guy - all the bad guys in this movie are heirs to the villain of the second one, the great Humungus - is not looking for gasoline, but a green world that appears in his legends. When they find it, it is totally destroyed by drought and an acid soil and only then do they realize that all the power of the villain resides in who controls the water, an immense aquifer that rations in a creeping way. In fact, in one of the first scenes of the film, a tattered crowd crowds with filthy pots to collect the little water they throw from a mountain.
Drought and water control also star in the great miniseries Mystery Road, of 2013, unfortunately not released in Spain, although it can be obtained on DVD with subtitles in French or English. This is a black story in which an aboriginal inspector and a local police captain investigate a disappearance in an Australian desert town, the endless outback. Water, again, is again in the center of the intrigue, in fact it is such a valuable asset that all wells have chambers. The images of cattle walking on quartered land, where before there was water, summarize what has been called the Great Drought, which between 2003 and 2012 left an important part of the country without rain.
And the whole title of the first novel by Jane Harper, a British author in Australia, says it: Years of drought (Salamandra, 2017). A policeman returns to his village, full of ghosts of his past, to investigate a crime and realizes that the landscapes of his childhood have been devoured by drought, including a river that has disappeared. Outside of fiction, Australian historian Rebecca Jones wrote a book titled Slow catastrophes: Living with drought in Australia ("Slow catastrophe: living with the drought in Australia"), published in 2017 by Monash University, in which he studies eight families of farmers and ranchers, between 1870 and 1950. The center of his story is, of course, how to survive to drought
“To hurt the earth is to hurt yourself,” explained a character from the great travel story by Australia of Bruce Chatwin, The strokes of the song (Peninsula), to summarize the relationship that The aborigines they had with the nature that surrounded them. "The land must remain intact: as it was in the Time of the Dream, when the ancestors gave life to the world with their song," continued Arkadi, an Australian of Ukrainian origin, who knew as nobody the culture of the first settlers of the island . That dream has been broken to become a present of fire and destruction that many thought belonged to the future.