20A023 Amerika, the Movie by Jim Davies, 6/9/2020
It's a highly unusual production. Aired as a mini-series by ABC-TV in the late 1980s, when I saw it first, it was promptly buried afterwards. Here's a resurrection.
It was tossed into the History Hole because of at least two factors: Trade Union members working for ABC were largely Marxist and furious about it, and the Soviet Union, which it portrayed in a bad light, threatened ABC with closure of its Moscow bureau if it were ever broadcast again. Happily, a public benefactor has found a copy and loaded it up to YouTube here.
It has a good cast, with Sam Neill, Robert Urich and Kris Kristofferson, and the acting is professional. For my taste today it moves too slowly, with over-long pauses to allow the viewer time to detect what the characters are thinking, and it lasts a total of over 14 hours in 13 episodes! But it's gripping.
The story is that as the USSR economy was collapsing, its leaders did a "Hail Mary" in the Cold War and exploded four nuclear bombs high above the USA so as to cripple all communications and the electric grid, then demanded - and got - a surrender by the FedGov. The outcome in 1980 was an America governed jointly by Soviet overlords and US collaborators, and later with "peacekeepers" from the UN. The population was reduced to near-slave status. The movie begins in 1987 in a Nebraska town, where everyone is heavily subdued and dispirited.
Poverty is more grinding by far than in the Roosevelt Depression, freedoms are almost non existent, resistance leads to long stays in a gulag, after which ex-cons become "internal exiles", directed in what area to live but cast adrift to manage without rights to take part in what's left of the market. Resentment is rife, but nobody sees anything that can usefully be done; not even the hero Devin Milford, fresh back from six years in a gulag for daring to run for President (LP candidates, beware!)
There comes a key moment in Episode 5, during the annual Lincoln Day parade in town, after out-of-tune school bands in hand-me-down uniforms have strutted their stuff. The local military overlord calls Devin to apologize to the crowd. Big mistake. Devin knows that if he does, everyone will be even more dispirited, but that if he rouses them to resist he'll be back in prison; so he says nothing at all! After some minutes someone then starts singing the Star Spangled Banner, to the great discomfort of the overlords, just as he'd hoped. Lesson for us: silence can sometimes be extraordinarily powerful.
Meanwhile the USSR itself is in trouble and some of the movie's finest moments portray reflections by the Central District military commander, a Russian; for example "You cannot fully trust someone who will not get drunk with you" and, replying to a question from a newly-elected Governor-General about when the election was held, "The result is being announced" (no election took place.)
Resistance at one point in "Amerika" is repressed by the burning of a home, in which "exiles" have taken refuge. It's eerie that just five years later, exactly that was done for real, in Waco TX - and not by Russian or UN occupiers, but by "our own" elected, Federal Government; in the movie, awful though it was, nobody got hurt. In Waco 84 men, women and children were burned to death and the few survivors were sentenced to 40 years in prison. None of the murderers was even put on trial.
Today the ruling class has wantonly created large-scale unemployment and poverty on the pretext of a new flu-like virus; not as devastating as the UN and Russian masters did in the movie - but maybe this was just a trial run.
I'll not spoil the rest of it for you; suffice it to say that in "Amerika" the only hope is shown as lying in a patriotic and sentimental attachment to the old idea of America and its flag. There is no sign of appreciation that the problem is with government authority itself, regardless of who wields it. The people are horribly repressed, yet still imagine that if only the Russian occupiers would go home, all could again be well. It's a movie very well worth seeing, but it falls short.
The shortfall is what we have to supply.
April Fools' Day was pre-empted this year by the WuFlu, but now the Census forms are creeping out of mailboxes so as a public service I've made some labels you may care to use if you think any of its questions are intrusive. Each says:
I will answer this question only after you tell me the Constitutional clause that permits you to ask it
There are 30 per page; here's the link. They fit Avery type 5160 - or plain paper, scissors and glue.