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Take Shelter: Oppenheimer’s Bunker-Musical “The End” includes Neon, Swinton, George Mackay & Stephen Graham

Take Shelter: Oppenheimer’s Bunker-Musical “The End” includes Neon, Swinton, George Mackay & Stephen Graham

The bygone era of the Rodgers & Hammerstein type of American ’50s musicals might be revisited in tone, and tune as Joshua Oppenheimer, the award-winning American born, British docu-filmmaker (based in Denmark) is moving into fiction feature with The End. Tilda Swinton, George Mackay and Stephen Graham have been cast in what will be an apocalyptic bunker musical about the last human family. The folks at Neon are getting behind the project before it rolls into production sometime next year.

Variety reports that Final Cut for Real’s Signe Byrge Sørensen and Oppenheimer are producing with Wild Atlantic Pictures and Match Factory Productions Co-Producing. The Danish Film Institute in Denmark and Film- und Medienstiftung NRW in Germany will support with financing.

Gist: Earlier last year, Oppenheimer underlined his approach; “Musicals are a uniquely American form that embodies a uniquely American cultural phenomenon of radical, groundless optimism. This family, in denial about helping to bring about the end of the world, is trying to celebrate their future when there is no future. That’s just ripe for music and song and being explored in the tradition of the great American musical.

The 1950s was the pinnacle of the white American empire based on greed and radical, baseless optimism. The Golden Age musicals were a singing travel guide into the empire at its height. The End is just the last stop on the tour—the bunker is all that’s left of America..

Worth Noting: As we collectively consider the end times, human extinction has been a curiosity for Oppenheimer at least in the short form with short form with 2002’s A Brief History of Paradise as Told by the Cockroaches.

Do We Care?: By appearances, The Act of Killing master filmmaker is switching up lanes, but we’re expecting a subversive commentary here. While Carax might have broken new ground giving us a more bleak use of the musical, Oppenheimer is going to give us a lot more dark matter and a lot more elasticity to what we expect from the genre. Swinton and Mackay are aces.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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