My dear francophiles, francovorous and francophageous friends, let me tell you about an interview I had with a genius director, George A Romero, the creator of zombies. In 1968, George made a small horror movie. It was called The Night Of The Living Dead and it changed everything…
It introduced the concept of the modern day zombies, the ghoul walking slowly attracted only by the flesh of the living. It started an entire genre, without Night Of The Living Dead, there would be no Walking Dead (and can you seriously imagine a world without The Walking Dead? I mean seriously?). Also, and most importantly, it introduced subversion in the genre.
We were in 68, time of the Viet Nam, Nixon, the assassination of Luther King… Romero put all this in his Night Of The Living Dead, the first socio-political horror movie. And he did the same in its sequels Dawn of The Dead, a pamphlet about consumer society, and Day Of the Dead was one of the most antiwar movies ever made. Thanks to him, horror movies became much more than just horror movies.
A few years ago, during an interview about his last movie, a zombie movie, of course, I asked him if every genre movies had to be subversive. He answered: “no, of course, no, they don’t have to be subversive. But the interesting ones are. And if you don’t use the genre to say something, what is it good for?”
George A Romero is not with us anymore, he died a couple of years ago, but I thought a lot about this quote working on a story that we air this week in Rendez-vous d’Amérique about Ignited the comic book. It’s getting a pretty good success in the little comic books world. If we talk about it, it’s because it has to do with French culture in America. A French company publishes it, and one of the artists is French illustrator Philippe Briones. But, to be honest, French culture in America is just a pretext. If we talk about it, it’s because we like what Ignited the comic book is doing.
Ignited is about a bunch of school shooting survivors who develop super powers after the event. The massacre in their school ignites their abilities and they will use them against all the forces of hate in America today. It’s smart, well done, and powerful.
It talks about this plague that consummate America and its youth today. The fact that we cannot really do any thing to stop school shootings; that our politicians are hiding behind the constitution to do absolutely nothing about gun control; that we’re mostly giving up on our youth, it’s America’s shame, it’s our shame. It’s all in Ignited.
We need to change the conversation about gun control in this country. We need to find solutions to protect our kids. I’m not saying that Ignited the comic book is a solution, but talking about it through genre, in a very subversive comic book, directly to kids, may open awareness in the mind of the readers. Maybe one of them will try to think differently and help find a solution.
If this happens, I know that up there a movie director with a big beard and small glasses will have a very big smile…
To learn more about Ignited the comic book, French illustrator Philippe Briones, and French culture in America, read our blog and tune in to episodes of Rendez-vous d’Amérique on TV5MONDE USA. Click here for more information.
Exploring cultural diversity entwined with the insatiable energy of the American public, Rendez-vous d'Amérique invites you on a journey to discover Francophone culture in America. Your host on this cultural experience is Didier Allouch - reporter, cinephile, and a familiar face at movie premieres. Click here to learn how you can subscribe to TV5MONDE USA and never miss an episode!