I am now into the final furlong of making my film, which has taken its form on the time line. The story itself has crystalized into a tale of people journeying to a promised land and losing themselves and their memories in the process. Over the few months I’ve been intermittently working on this project I have also been reading (and re-reading) a book by Russel Hoban called ‘Riddley Walker‘. This book has been a really great inspiration for me as its themes are similar in many ways.
The story is set in a post-nuclear England, 2000 years from now, where society is stuck in a sort of second Iron Age, with remnants of 20th Century english language. It follows a young boy, Riddley, who is trying to interpret the surviving myths of ‘Time Way Back’ and the ‘1Big1’ in his own way in order to make sense of how his own people have developed and where they are heading. At one point in the book he begins to realise how advanced society was before the ‘Bad Time’, and how far technologically it has fallen:
O what we ben! And what we come to …How cud any 1 not want to get that shining Power back from time back way back? How cud any 1 not want to be like them what had boats in the air and picters on the wind? How cud any 1 not want to see them shining weals terning?
In many ways this is the same lament, or regret, as experienced by the Noah character at the end of my film. After years of living a utopian life in the promised land (which looks suspiciously like a 1950s holiday resort), he has a recurring nightmare about what has been lost in the process of the journey, and his own complicity in destroying the past. He also has a glimpse of strange new nightmare of a future in which things fall apart in bizarre new ways.