The Show Must Go On

black-mirror-white-bear

Someone on the Debate.org forum posted a topic about “Black Mirror” series. Since I didn’t watch it, I decided to give it a try. I watched a few movies, they were not bad but weren’t good either. The message is quite banal. The modern consumer society is bad. The technology is a devil blah blah blah. A little bit similar to “They Live” movie. However, one movie made an impression on me. It was “White Bear”, a fascinating and a bit disturbing movie with a surprising ending.

A woman, Victoria, wakes up in a house with a terrible headache and to her horror she realizes she doesn’t remember anything. There are bandages around her wrists and the pills scattered on the floor as if she tried to commit suicide. The TV is turned on but the screen is blank with only a strange sigil on it. She runs out of the house into some sort of sinister neighborhood where the people are constantly looking at her and filming her on their cellphones. She is then chased by the hunters wearing fancy clothes and creepy animal masks, trying to kill her but nobody is paying attention to her cries for help, except for a young woman, Jem, who helps her to escape.

Victoria carries a photo of a child with her, whom she thinks is her daughter. Apart from that, she doesn’t remember anything and is totally confused. The behavior of her neighbors perplexes her but Jem explains that the people are mesmerized by the mysterious signal appearing on TV and the internet, which turns people into sadistic murderers or zombie voyeurs, and to stop that they have to destroy the transmitter at the White Bear site.

Before they get there, they are led at a gun point by a guy who they thought was their friend to an ominous site where people hang crucified on the trees. The guy threatens to torture Victoria but Jem manages to kill him. Finally, they get to the White Bear site and to the transmitter building, where they are stopped by two hunters. Victoria shoots at one of them but the gun fires confetti. Suddenly the door opens revealing a stage and a cheering audience. Jem and the hunters bow down to the audience and it turns out that everyone except Victoria was an accomplice in an elaborate reality show.

Now it’s the time for the big revelation. Victoria learns that she together with her boyfriend kidnapped and murdered a young girl who was holding a white bear. Her boyfriend was torturing the child while she was standing by, passively watching, laughing and recording everything on her cellphone. The strange symbol Victoria saw on the screen was her boyfriend’s tattoo. After being arrested, he committed suicide in prison while she was given an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth sentence, serving as an object of entertainment for revenge hungry spectators at the White Bear Justice Park, tormented and helpless like her victim.

Victoria is then paraded in the street among the hateful crowd to the house where she woke up to have her memory wiped so that she can relive her nightmare over and over again.

I just wonder what the hell is the point the director is trying to make. That we are vengeful and blood hungry animals? That’s hardly a revelation. That technology desensitizes us to human suffering? The truth is that the executions have always been an entertainment. Long before our modern times they attracted spectators. The movie reminds me of all those gang-stalking conspiracy theories, where the supposed victims believe they are at the center of some sophisticated game with everyone around them as willful accomplices.

Anyway, Victoria’s punishment is like mythological hell; never-ending and repetitive, like Prometheus’ or Sisyphus’ torment. The funny thing is that she’s such a perfect victim, so miserable, pathetic and crying all the time. Uugh.

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