‘The Afterlife’ (Things to Come, 1936) is one of the classics of science fiction cinema, a film with vital importance in the history of cinema, but beyond its technical or artistic values, the film is important for what it tells, something that is still valid after 70 years of its realization, and that will continue to be valid when all of us are eaten by worms: man’s desire to improve, mixed with all the technological advances, and the decision to continue advancing or fix our society wrapped in wars and disasters, such as using all these advances for the progress of society or to end up decimating the population.

It is curious to see how this film dared to talk about certain things in the middle of 1936, when there was an imminent war, and how its screenwriter, the great HG Wells, who adapted his own novel, ventured to try to see the future in the next century. since the making of the film. A film that is divided into three very different acts: the outbreak of a great war that lasts more than 30 years, the post-apocalyptic society after that war, and finally, the future, in which they already think about conquering planets.

The three parts are quite different from each other, and it is practically worth studying them separately, since together The film hasn’t stood the test of time too well.. Certain rhythm problems and an excess of theatricality in the performances further accentuate its defects that are clearly visible today. Let’s say the movie starts off in a bold and interesting way, continues in an even more interesting way, but ends up being quite boring and repetitive in some ways.

The first part stands out for its crudeness in the war scenes, when a certain city (which is cleverly called Everytown) is mercilessly bombarded by the enemy (who has no specific nationality, just “the enemy”). It is necessary to highlight here the excellent work of artistic direction, something that the director of the film, William Cameron Menzies, I would take into account, since Menzies was one of the best artistic directors in the entire history of cinema. That city shattered by bombs is a prodigy of staging, with sequences as terrible as that child dead in the rubble, something unheard of for the time. The second part is undoubtedly the most interesting of the three., even seen now, with all the information we have about our own history. It is a depressing vision of what the planet would be like after a huge war, followed by a plague that almost ended human life, people going back almost to prehistory, living among the ruins of the city, without any kind of technology at your fingertips. It takes place in the 70s, and knowing that did not happen, the vision is most hopeless and has not lost one iota of its force. And the third part takes place in a future marked by the search for perfection, but despite all the scientific and technological advances that exist, the high leaders apply their tyranny over the people, a people who rebel against the great ships spacecraft that will take us to other planets.

The great Raymond Massey is the one who carries all the weight of the function in ‘The Afterlife’, making two characters throughout the action of the film, exactly 100 years. She plays the same character in the first two parts of the film, and then his son. The curious thing about the matter is that both one and the other are almost the same, and in fact it does not seem to evolve throughout the film, perhaps as a metaphor for certain ideals. Massey achieves very good moments and others that are not so good, due to that previously mentioned theatricality, very typical of those years, but which grates at certain moments. Next to him, we can enjoy, depending on how you look at it, Ralph Richardson, playing the “boss” in the second part of the film, a kind of leader of the population, and who of course is the boss. Perhaps this character is a little caricatured, reminding a little of the old Roman emperors, and mocking tyranny to some extent, showing that any idiot can be a tyrant.

a passable movie, schematic at times and quite disjointed, undoubtedly due to the enormous ambitions of the project. Fortunately, his message remains perennial and invites the deepest of debates. ‘The Afterlife’ It’s released on DVD by Manga Films, in case you want to take a look. Its value is more historical and sociological than purely cinematographic.