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First as Warning, then as Threnody: An Analysis of Children of Men by Rudy Ralph Martinez

On soft gray mornings windows cry

The wise men share a joke

I run to grasp divining signs

To satisfy the hoax

The yellow jester does not play

But gently pulls the strings

And smiles as the puppets dance

In the court of the crimson king

—King Crimson, “In the Court of the Crimson King”

During an epoch marred by a global resurgence of authoritarianism, mass migration, and unchecked capitalism, few other works of art are as crucial to the conversation about our species’ future than Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 film Children of Men. This paper will analyze the film and argue that by approaching German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s philosophy of history in a unique way, it in part predicted our current social-political situation—and even provides a stark warning of where society is headed if our way of life doesn’t drastically change. Beyond utilizing Hegelian philosophy, Cuarón and his team of filmmakers reach audiences through intertextuality[1] and the meticulous usage of reference and cross-reference in nearly every scene. Cuarón’s film is an ideal primer on post-9/11 politics, aesthetic interpretation, and the multiple existential crises we face in the 21st century. It is an example of what I call “ethical art”—pedagogical art that transcends the aesthetic sphere and makes a positive impact on the social, political, and ethical spheres.

The film’s plot takes place in the United Kingdom in the year 2027. According to audio and visual cues in the background, most notably found in the opening scene, the rest of the world has fallen victim to civil war and ecological and nuclear disasters. “Only Britain Soldiers On,” reads the ubiquitous propaganda. Due to the collapse of nation-states across the world, Britain has turned into a military dictatorship that ceaselessly hunts down “fugees,” to which migrants are commonly referred. Beyond this, it has been 18 years since the last recorded birth. The plot centers around Theo Faron (Clive Owen), an alcoholic activist-cum-bureaucrat. Theo escorts the world’s sole pregnant woman, a refugee named Kee (Claire Hope-Ashitey), through a barren wasteland, to a rendezvous with a shadowy group of scientists known as The Human Project, avoiding armed insurgents and the British Army along the way.[2] Mostly ignored by both critics and filmgoers upon its release during the holidays in 2006, the film has since found a second-life due to its topical storyline and being ranked amongst the greatest films of the 21st century by numerous critics.[3]

The Hollow Men: Hegel, Infertility, and Climate Change

The driving force behind the plot of Children of Men is infertility—no woman has given birth in nearly two decades and no one knows why. Infertility serves as an ambiguous villain that has robbed humanity of its children, in turn draining all hope and rationality from society.  Viewers are witness to this lack of hope, replaced by rampant desperation, through constant advertisements for a government-sanctioned suicide kit known as Quietus (with its ominous tagline of “You Decide When”) and encouragement to take fertility tests. The world has come to a standstill as it awaits death. This is extinction—not with a bang, but with a whimper.

History, in Cuarón’s film, is quite literally “over.” However, Cuarón’s end of history differs from Hegel’s. According to philosopher Peter Singer, writing in Hegel, Hegel’s “thoughtful consideration” of history sought to “present its raw material as part of a rational process of development, thus revealing the meaning and significance of world history.”[4] He believed that human history was undergirded by a driving force, the progress of freedom. For Hegel, history would end when freedom was attained in the modern nation-state. This ultimate actualization of freedom would mark the logical end of the dialectic, which marches forth through time under the guise of theses, antitheses, and syntheses—contradictions confronting, and ultimately synthesizing, with opposites that in turn confront new contradictions (and so on and so forth).[5] Because of infertility, the dialectic has reached a seemingly insurmountable impasse. Instead, the modern nation-state of Cuarón’s film is one under strict totalitarian control, a xenophobic nation that has turned away from the “rational process of development” of Hegel’s ideation. Cuarón hasn’t flipped Hegel onto his head, as Marx and Engels were accused of doing,[6] he’s knocked him off his feet.

Hegel’s philosophy of history and the infertility in the film show a parallel between that dystopia and a real-world crisis that threatens the development of future generations: global climate change. In Cuarón’s film, humanity is robbed of reproduction, its greatest biological gift. In our world, rampant reproduction, not only of ourselves but of our modern industries, has severely strained our relationship to the planet. It is proof that we have utilized this gift to an illogical end. In The Possibility of Hope, a short documentary that serves as an addendum to the film, philosopher and economist John Gray wonders if humanity “understands” or “accepts” that we have “overshot the capacity of the planet.”[7] We find ourselves, as Cuarón has said, in the midst of a “spiritual infertility.”[8] He references reproduction in an ant colony as being an act beneficial to the overall state of the commune, whereas human reproduction, with the help of “rampant [neo-]liberal capitalism,” has become hedonistic.[9] Thus far, politicians from all sides of the spectrum have proven sterile in their efforts to confront this crisis of the spirit and the disasters that accompany it.

According to a report released in late-2018 by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we only have little more than a decade left before an increase of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) over pre-industrial levels unleashes unprecedented disasters across the world.[10] As previously mentioned, the future in Children of Men has already been ravaged by these catastrophes. In just the past decade, we have witnessed record-breaking storms, unrelenting wildfires, and mass migration—all due to a warmer climate. World leaders have tried banding together through initiatives such as the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015 by 195 countries, which aims to drastically curb the impact of global warming by 2100.[11] However, there are those adherents of late-capitalism who continue to borrow against the future to consolidate wealth and power. One such individual is the president of the United States: Donald Trump.

Trump is one of the world’s numerous authoritarian personalities, joining the ranks of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He has proven himself a selfish man who understands, or is at least aware of, the dire crises facing the planet but opts not to positively act on them. Trump made it a priority to have the United States exit the Paris Agreement.[12] Instead, his energy is devoted to forcing migrant children into camps along the southern border,[13] deploying troops to prevent other migrants from reaching the U.S.,[14] and attempting to have a physical barrier put up between the U.S. and Latin America.[15] In Children of Men, “fugees” are caged up and sent to Bexhill Refugee Camp, a massive, dense, ghetto-like encampment reminiscent of the Warsaw Ghetto or the Gaza Strip. Trump’s rampant nationalism and thirst for power, a staple of post-9/11 conservatism, echoes that of the invisible strongmen in Children of Men. Both in reality and in the film, the left has failed to offer a viable political alternative to the hard-right. In the film, The Fishes, a far-left insurgent group, place a greater focus on politicizing the birth of Kee’s baby as opposed to ensuring her safety and that of humanity as a whole. Trump himself is a political actor representative of a sterility in political ideology but, unlike his leftist counterparts, he wields power. His influence, like that of many other right-wing populists, relies on a fear of the “other” and resentment for outsiders.

The desire for a barrier to be erected on the southern U.S. border is the concrete replication of the rhetoric used by European leaders in the wake of the mass migration crisis the continent has dealt with since 2015, a topic continuously referenced within the film. This migration crisis has seen millions of individuals from the Middle East and Northern Africa leave their homes due to civil war, crime, and warming temperatures.[16] After a peak of 1 million migrant entries in 2015, four European countries, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, have refused to take in anymore asylum-seekers. Migration has become a core issue in European elections, leading to the rise of far-right politicians in Britain, Austria, Germany, and Italy.[17] This scenario seems like a precursor to the film, in which refugees are ruthlessly hunted. Kee, whose pregnancy represents hope, is an undesirable in British society. When The Fishes are discussing what steps should be taken with Kee’s pregnancy, Theo suggests it be made public. Miriam, a former mid-wife and Kee’s caretaker, scoffs at the idea and suggests that the birth would be credited to a “posh black British woman.”[18] The Britain of Cuarón’s film has blinded itself with rage and will not accept that it’s future doesn’t rely on one of their own.

Though xenophobic rhetoric and hate crimes are common place across Europe, EU leaders are not yet caging and executing asylum-seekers on a wide-scale, as seen in the film. However, according to a late-2017 report by The Guardian, various observers believe that the number of migrant arrivals in the EU is set to skyrocket yet again, due to both war and climate change.[19] Cuarón and his team of collaborators foresaw these events escalating, hence their prominent role in Children of Men. As the arrival of asylum-seekers proves to be an unending crisis continuously paraded for political power, solutions may yet prove to be rash and barbaric.

The treatment of migrants in Children of Men serves as a teaching opportunity due to its close relationship with post-9/11 political sentiment and the War on Terror. In a 2016 interview with Vulture, Cuarón recalls director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki remarking that “we cannot allow one single frame of this film to go without a comment on the state of things.”[20] This technique is put into practice throughout the film. For example, the buses leading to Bexhill and the signs that adorn the camp read “Homeland Security,” a reference to the cabinet department of the U.S. federal government created by George W. Bush as a response to 9/11. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) oversees counterterrorism efforts, cybersecurity, and immigration, amongst other tasks.[21] However, in the aftermath of 9/11, with the creation of the DHS and the passing of the USA Patriot Act (2001), which provided sweeping powers to the executive branch in relation to the monitoring and detaining of suspected terrorists, critics believed that civil rights would begin to erode during the War on Terror.[22] The political actors in the film, riding the wave of fear as politicians across the world have done post-9/11, act with impunity. Indefinite detentions and questionable military operations permeate the film and reality.

As our protagonists enter Bexhill, another reference is made to a controversial aspect of the War on Terror. Prisoners in the background are forced into poses mirroring those seen in the sadistic images that arose from Abu Ghraib prison. During the occupation of Iraq, Abu Ghraib was used by coalition forces to house prisoners. In 2004, pictures leaked from the prison showed coalition soldiers happily torturing and humiliating prisoners. The image referenced in the film is the infamous The Hooded Man, which displays a prisoner, in a Christ-like pose, stripped of his clothes, eyesight, and personal safety, as he has electrical wires wrapped around his fingers.[23] It was this photograph, an unintentional work of art, that widened the conversation in reference to the West’s controversial role in the Middle East.

The Ark of the Arts: A Heap of Broken Images

At one point, Theo visits his cousin Nigel in hopes of securing transit papers for Kee. Nigel lives in a luxurious apartment within Battersea Power Station, itself located within a heavily fortified section of London, which houses the wealthy. Nigel runs the government’s Ark of the Arts, an arm of the government in charge of securing and “preserving” art from around the world. When Theo enters Nigel’s apartment, he sees him standing under Michelangelo’s David, striking a similar pose to the statue. He casually tells a story about how he and his team tried saving La Pieta, another Michelangelo masterpiece, but it was “smashed up” when he arrived.[24] Nigel laments that an unspecified catastrophe in Madrid was “a real blow to art.”[25] Theo has to remind a sedated and uncaring Nigel that what happened in Madrid was disastrous for people, too. The Ark of the Arts scene, running at just under five minutes, contains a wealth of material both crucial to the plot and any analysis of the film’s politics.

Nigel’s job is to remove art from society, to display it in a bourgeois non-environment littered with anti-depressants. In removing art from any meaningful context, Nigel’s apartment is a gallery suspended outside of history. As Cuarón described it in a 2017 interview with Vulture:

He can claim that it is for the good of humanity like everybody claims that everything they do is for the good of humanity. But ultimately, he is using those…as subjects of décor…David belongs to a cultural context that deals with ethnic, spiritual, religious, aesthetic use…you cannot just strip that…at that point, what does it mean anymore?[26]

Cuarón’s usage of cross-reference is key. During the climactic long-shot at Bexhill, the camera momentarily deviates from the main action to linger upon a grieving mother holding her martyred son. The shot is not only a reference to Michelangelo’s La Pieta, but also to George Mérillon’s photograph La Pieta du Kosovo, a winner of the World Press Photo of the Year award, and itself a nod to Michelangelo.[27] Michelangelo’s La Pieta may have been blown to bits in the film, but Cuarón’s mise-en-scene places the artwork back within a cultural context. Nigel participates in the appropriation of art, while Theo lives through the horrors that inspire it. Reference and cross-reference are used in almost every scene, with the Ark of the Arts scene being the high-point of this approach.

As Theo and Nigel sit at the dining table, they are watched over by Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, a powerful lamentation on the barbarities of modern warfare and one of the more recognizable works of art from the twentieth century. Picasso’s piece “commemorates the decimation of Guernica by Nazis, Italian fascists, and Spanish Nationalists” in the service of General Francisco Franco.[28] It has gone from embodying the horrors and absurdities Europe faced in the lead-up (and during) the Second World War, to merely serving as wallpaper. Guernica foreshadows the destruction of London, Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki in the Second World War, and Sarajevo, Damascus, and Aleppo during our own epoch (1991-). Interestingly enough, several scenes frame Theo within Guernica, foreshadowing his eventual confrontation with the British army and The Fishes at Bexhill, which results in an air raid that levels the camp. Once again, Cuarón masterfully returns art to the ‘outside’ world, where events occur.

Whenever Theo and Nigel stand near the former’s window and look out towards the city, yet another allusion is on display for the vigilant viewer to dissect. The iconic pig from Pink Floyd’s Animals record hauntingly floats above London, going unmentioned by both men. Pink Floyd was paying homage to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, a satirical riff on a society Orwell felt had lost its air of coherence: the Soviet Union under the iron fist of Joseph Stalin. The positioning of the pig represents the safety of the ruling class in Cuarón’s dystopia, displaying them residing in heavily-armed enclaves within London, embodying Orwell’s oft-quoted line from Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”[29]

The State of Things: The Politics of Hope and an Absent Future

The world of Children of Men, aesthetically reminiscent of our world, is decidedly non-futuristic, for there would be no reason for innovation if we were on the precipice of extinction. It is a society which functions without the “politics of hope,” that utopian yearning which guides humanity toward a brighter future. In The Possibility of Hope, anti-Globalization activist Naomi Klein refers to utopianism as the “impulse to dream…to dream your way out of the present.”[30] Cuarón’s world imparts a lesson: Though our current situation is bleak, this is what the world will look like devoid of all hope.

Ultimately, Theo’s character, and the transformation he undergoes in the film, is symbolic of how the “politics of hope” can be rediscovered in a new era. At the beginning of the film, we meet Theo as a cynical bureaucrat who constantly drinks and smokes, seemingly numb to the catastrophes around him. He mirrors the decrepit state of the world he inhabits. Mere hours after witnessing the bombing of a coffee shop, he is picked up by Jasper (Michael Caine), an old hippie in the mold of John Lennon and Theo’s only friend. On their way to Jaspers’ home, while Junior Parker’s cover of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” quietly plays in the background, Theo hints at having recently contemplated suicide. We learn that in his youth, Theo, along with his estranged wife Julian (Julianne Moore), was a voracious leftist activist: Living in squats and unafraid to confront police officers—a far cry from the salty man from the first act of the film. However, Theo is awakened from his apathetic slumber after he is contacted by Julian, now the leader of The Fishes.

Julian needs Theo’s help to get Kee to the coast. Initially, Theo doesn’t know that Kee is pregnant, and is simply helping Julian in exchange for much-needed money. After Julian is assassinated by seemingly unknown assailants, Kee reveals to Theo that she is pregnant, and the stakes reach unimaginable heights, heights only surpassed after The Fishes attempt to murder Theo. Midway through the film, Jasper claims that life “is a mythical cosmic battle between faith and chance.”[31] It is Theo’s restored faith in humanity that undergirds he and Kee’s journey to rendezvous with The Human Project, and it is through a series of chance happenings that they succeed. Theo becomes an ethical actor, even a messianic character, after being exposed to a glimmer of hope: Kee’s pregnancy, “the miracle the world’s been waiting for.”[32]

In Children of Men, humankind is living through the apocalypse—the path to the end is long and desolate, full of agony and despair. The late-leftist theorist Mark Fisher, writing in 2009’s Capitalist Realism: Is There an Alternative?, remarked that the world projected in the film “seems more like an extrapolation or exacerbation of ours than an alternative to it.”[33] Unlike other dystopian films and novels, which imagine drastically different scenarios society could find itself within, Children of Men holds a mirror up to society. Cuarón, Lubezki, and their supporting cast studied the foremost criticism of their day and anxiously watched as the dust from the World Trade Center settled. As events began to unfold, it was clear that history had picked up where it left off, events were no longer “on strike,”[34] as Jean Baudrillard once remarked.[35] It should come as no surprise that the making of a film which presents a West African refugee as the world’s sole hope, protected by a once apathetic white man turned martyr, was spearheaded by two artists from the developing world, specifically Latin America. They’ve witnessed firsthand the tragedies wrought by unchecked capitalism and colonialism.

While we shouldn’t expect that a film, or any work of art, will save the world, works such as Children of Men hold as much pedagogical merit as T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” or Picasso’s Guernica. These works function not just as laments but as desperate calls for mass self-reflection. The film is worth teaching due to the conversations it will create, whether amongst seasoned leftists or teenagers becoming acquainted with the world of cinema. Children of Men synthesizes hope and realism. As Theo, Kee, and baby Dylan escape Bexhill on a small wooden boat in the waning moments of the film, they float amidst the fog. It is here, by a buoy, that The Human Project arrives on a large fishing boat called Tomorrow. The boat an is apt metaphor, for humans are a nomadic species. We spread out across the world after Homosapiens left the Horn of Africa tens of thousands of years ago. Today, humans seek new homes due to economic exploitation, war, and climate change. The question at the root of this is: Are we going to truly make the effort to accept and understand that we are an interdependent species? Humans achieve independence after six or seven years. Meaning, on average, we are dependent on others for one-tenth of our lives, just as Theo and Kee are dependent on one another.[36] This isn’t true of other mammals. If we are to embark on the Tomorrow, as opposed to nihilistically whispering that which is quiet and meaningless as the Titanic sinks, then we must do it hand-in-hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Abramson, Larry and Godoy, Maria. “The Patriot ACT: Key Controversies,” NPR Online, 14 February 2006, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.npr.org/news/specials/patriotact/patriotactprovisions.html.

Baudrillard, Jean. The Spirit of Terrorism and other Essays. New York, Verso: 2003.

Cuarón, Alfonso. Children of Men. Universal Pictures, 2006.

Cuarón, Alfonso. The Possibility of Hope. Universal Pictures, 2006.

Dargis, Manohla. “Beauty and Beasts of England, in a World on its Last Legs,” New York Times, 7 January 2007, Accessed 7 February 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/movies/awardsseason/07darg.html.

Dawson, Richard. “Future Shock,” Vulture, 26 December 2016. Accessed: 5 February 2019. https://www.vulture.com/2016/12/children-of-men-alfonso-cuaron-c-v-r.html.

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, “United States Department of Homeland Security,” Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 November 2016, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.britannica.com/topic/United-States-Department-of-Homeland-Security.

Fisher, Mark. Capitalist Realism: Is There an Alternative? United Kingdom, Zero Books: 2009.

Frederick, Ivan. The Hooded Man, 2003, Abu Ghraib, Iraq.

Gambino, Lauren. “State of the Union: Donald Trump attacks Mueller and Democrats in divisive speech,” The Guardian, 6 February 2019, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/05/donald-trump-state-of-the-union-bipartisan-unity.

Harvey, Fiona. “Paris climate change agreement enters into force,” The Guardian, 3 November 2016. Accessed, 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/04/paris-climate-change-agreement-enters-into-force.

Harvey, Fiona. “Devastating climate change could lead to 1m migrants entering EU by 2100,” The Guardian, 21 December 2017, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/21/devastating-climate-change-could-see-one-million-migrants-a-year-entering-eu-by-2100.

Henley, Jon. “What is the current state of the migration crisis in Europe?,” The Guardian, 21 November 2018. Accessed, 05 February 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/15/what-current-scale-migration-crisis-europe-future-outlook.

Holpuch, Amanda. “Thousands more migrant children separated under Trump than previously known,” The Guardian, 17 January 2019, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/17/trump-family-separations-report-latest-news-zero-tolerance-policy-immigrant-children.

Mérillon, George. La Pieta du Kosovo, 1990, Nagafc, Kosovo.

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Milman, Oliver and Smith, David and Carrington, Damian. “Donald Trump confirms US will quit Paris climate agreement,” The Guardian, 1 June 2017, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/01/donald-trump-confirms-us-will-quit-paris-climate-deal.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York, Alfred A. Knopf: 1993.

Singer, Peter. Hegel. Great Britain: Oxford University Press, 1983.

Smith, David and Argen, David. “Trump accused of stoking immigration fears by sending 5,200 troops to border,” The Guardian, 29 October 2018, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/29/trump-immigration-troops-border-midterms.

Watts, Jonathan. “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN,” The Guardian, 8 October 2018. Accessed, 5 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report.

Smith, David and Argen, David. “Trump accused of stoking immigration fears by sending 5,200 troops to border,” The Guardian, 29 October 2018, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/29/trump-immigration-troops-border-midterms.

 


[1] Defined as the “shaping of a text’s meaning by another text.”

[2] Children of Men. Dir. Alfonso Cuarón. Universal Pictures, 2006. Film.

[3] Richard Dawson, “Future Shock,” Vulture, 26 December 2016. Accessed: 5 February 2019. https://www.vulture.com/2016/12/children-of-men-alfonso-cuaron-c-v-r.html.

[4] Peter Singer, Hegel, (Great Britain: Oxford University Press, 1983), 10.

[5] Peter Singer, Hegel, (Great Britain: Oxford University Press, 1983), 77-79.

[6] In their developing of historical materialism, Marx and Engels sought to amplify what they saw as “rational” in Hegel’s philosophy of history, thus creating a scientific view of world history, historical-materialism, that has inspired debate and revolution for the last 150 years.

[7] The Possibility of Hope. Dir. Alfonso Cuarón. Universal Pictures, 2007.

[8] Alfonso Cuarón, interview by Abraham Reisman, Vulture, January 6 2017.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Jonathan Watts, “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN,” The Guardian, 8 October 2018. Accessed, 5 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report.

[11] Fiona Harvey, “Paris climate change agreement enters into force,” The Guardian, 3 November 2016. Accessed, 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/04/paris-climate-change-agreement-enters-into-force.

[12] Oliver Milman, David Smith, Damian Carrington, “Donald Trump confirms US will quit Paris climate agreement,” The Guardian, 1 June 2017, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/01/donald-trump-confirms-us-will-quit-paris-climate-deal.

[13] Amanda Holpuch, “Thousands more migrant children separated under Trump than previously known,” The Guardian, 17 January 2019, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/17/trump-family-separations-report-latest-news-zero-tolerance-policy-immigrant-children.

[14] David Smith and David Agren, “Trump accused of stoking immigration fears by sending 5,200 troops to border,” The Guardian, 29 October 2018, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/29/trump-immigration-troops-border-midterms.

[15] Lauren Gambino, “State of the Union: Donald Trump attacks Mueller and Democrats in divisive speech,” The Guardian, 6 February 2019, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/05/donald-trump-state-of-the-union-bipartisan-unity.

[16] “Migrant Crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven charts,” BBC Online, last modified 4 March 2016, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34131911.

[17] Jon Henley, “What is the current state of the migration crisis in Europe?,” The Guardian, 21 November 2018. Accessed, 05 February 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/15/what-current-scale-migration-crisis-europe-future-outlook.

[18] Children of Men. Dir. Alfonso Cuarón. Universal Pictures, 2006. Film.

[19] Fiona Harvey, “Devastating climate change could lead to 1m migrants entering EU by 2100,” The Guardian, 21 December 2017, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/21/devastating-climate-change-could-see-one-million-migrants-a-year-entering-eu-by-2100.

[20] Alfonso Cuarón, interview by Abraham Reisman, Vulture, January 6 2017.

[21] The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, “United States Department of Homeland Security,” Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 November 2016, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.britannica.com/topic/United-States-Department-of-Homeland-Security.

[22] Larry Abramson and Maria Godoy, “The Patriot ACT: Key Controversies,” NPR online, 14 February 2006, Accessed 6 February 2019, https://www.npr.org/news/specials/patriotact/patriotactprovisions.html.

[23] Ivan Frederick, The Hooded Man, 2003, Abu Ghraib, Iraq.

[24] Children of Men. Dir. Alfonso Cuarón. Universal Pictures, 2006. Film.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Alfonso Cuarón, interview by Abraham Reisman, Vulture, January 6 2017.

[27] George Mérillon, La Pieta du Kosovo, 1990, Nagafc, Kosovo.

[28] Manohla Dargis, “Beauty and Beasts of England, in a World on its Last Legs,” New York Times, 7 January 2007, Accessed 7 February 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/movies/awardsseason/07darg.html.

[29] George Orwell, Animal Farm (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993).

[30] The Possibility of Hope. Dir. Alfonso Cuarón. Universal Pictures, 2007.

[31] Children of Men. Dir. Alfonso Cuarón. Universal Pictures, 2006. Film.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There an Alternative? (Zero Books, United Kingdom, 2009).

[34] In the opening remarks to The Spirit of Terrorism, Baudrillard paints a portrait of the decade prior to 9/11 as one filled with non-events, such as the death of Princess Diana and the World Cup.

[35] Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism and other Essays (Verso, New York, 2003), p. 3.

[36] The Possibility of Hope. Dir. Alfonso Cuarón. Universal Pictures, 2007.