Let's all begin the Age of Clever together

This weekend I saw one of the most important films of this generation, and the best documentary I have ever seen.

I was privileged to be at the premiere of Age of Stupid, the new release from Spanner Films. Until recently it’s been called Crude, and—disclaimer—I’ve helped work on non-film aspects of it. Being involved, though, meant I’d already seen a rather straggly, two-hour rough cut (without the fictional starring role played by Pete Postlethwaite) around a year ago. With that in mind I was expecting to have to endure prolonged exposure to a numb rear and then clap politely at the end.

Instead, I was completely emotionally devastated by the whole tight, sharp, well-edited thrust of the film, and was crying uncontrollably by the point that it all reached the numerical climax. Given the company I was in, I admit that without any shame: it’s probably fair to say that almost everyone was in tears by the time the credits rolled. The major piece of direct evidence I have is that even the cooler, more composed members of the audience wiping their eyes once the text had finished scrolling by, and the lights came up; most fellow cinemagoers I spoke to afterwards admitted shedding tears too, and K. says that the women’s toilet was full of people splashing their face to get rid of tear-stained puffiness.

It’s frighteningly obvious, using the trick of Postlethwaite’s own retrospective archiving of today’s events, that we only have so much time left now. Some estimates suggest perhaps a hundred months. Once we’ve finished counting them off, if it’s still the case that nothing’s changed: that’s when the real countdown begins.

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