Sunday, January 02, 2022

Scattering the Deer on the Highway: The allegory of climate catastrophe in "Don't Look Up"

As a camera pans up an aerial view of an empty six-lane highway in winter, a car can be heard. Just after a small herd of deer appears on the highway's left-hand side, the car appears on the right, and the deer scatter. The film is "Don't Look Up", with its story of earth threatened by a comet and American politics being played as usual. This moment provides a foundation for the allegorical reading of the comet catastrophe as climate catastrophe: on the highway of the human remaking of landscape that animals have to come to terms with, the car barrels along as a pervasive danger the deer must flee from. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 2 January 2022)


Screenshot from "Don't Look Up", at about 1:48.18 into the film.


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