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Get Your Apocalypse (and Wine) Fix with The Quiet Earth

Written by M.V. Moorhead Category: Culture Issue: June 2017
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Photo by Skouras PicturesBeing all alone in the world – that's the theme of The Quiet Earth. But I don’t mean that figuratively. Zac (Bruno Lawrence), the hero of this 1985 film from New Zealand showing at 6 p.m. this Sunday, June 4, at Film Bar Phoenix, suddenly finds himself seemingly the only person left alive on Earth after a science project-gone-wrong.

He wanders around the empty world, of which he declares himself “President,” and understandably goes a little crazy. He enters a church, wearing a dress and carrying a shotgun, which he points at a statue of Jesus and yells “If you don’t come out, I’ll shoot the kid!”

Eventually, Zac meets a couple of other survivors—a cheeky woman (Alison Routledge) and Maori tough guy (Pete Smith). Tensions ensue, similar to those in the 1959 American movie The World, The Flesh and The Devil, which follows another interracial triangle between the last three people on Earth. Almost inevitably, the second half of The Quiet Earth is less haunting than the eerie scenes early on of Zac by his lonesome. But it’s still a gripping drama, and it culminates in a memorable, if frustratingly inconclusive, final image.

If you’ve never seen this funny, unnerving sci-fi classic, adapted from a novel of the same name by Craig Harrison, I highly recommend. End-of-the-world-as-we-know-it themes are all the rage in pop culture right now (see: Last Man On Earth, The Handmaid's Tale, The Walking Dead), but it's nice to throw a throw-back into your apocalypse viewing habits every know and then. Plus, there will be wine.

Arizona winemaker Sam Pillsbury, who co-produced the film and co-wrote the screenplay, is scheduled to introduce the show at Film Bar, and hold a Q&A after. Like Francis Ford Coppola, Pillsbury has gone from filmmaker to winemaker: he now runs Pillsbury Wine Company in Willcox. A tasting of Pillsbury’s wines will precede the movie starting at 5 p.m., and featured wines will be offered that evening as drink specials. If you’ve ever wondered what kind of wine pairs best with the apocalypse, Pillsbury is presumably just the guy who can tell you.

Tickets are $10; call 602-595-9187 or visit thefilmbarphx.com for details.