Today’s film is called Charlie 13
I couldn’t find a way to embed this film into my blog post. If you want to see the video you can click here.
On the eve of his 13th birthday, will Charlie Tuttle submit to a government-mandated tracking implant, or answer a more dangerous call to adventure?
In this film, a young boy is about to reach the age where, in his society, he will be permanently ‘tagged’ by having a tracking device implanted in his body. A futuristic angle on a ‘coming of age’ story, the boy has to choose whether to submit to the requirements of his society, or seek a different life. By suggesting a degree of personal autonomy, the film diverges considerably from some of last week’s (new media, bendito machine III).
To what extent does Charlie 13 represent a hopeful or a bleak future?
How you answer this may depend on whether you see Charlie, and the resistance he represents, as a genuine alternative to the social and technological forces at work in this future society.
That Charlie still has resistance represents some hope in itself. I am not sure how realistic his resistance is given his upbringing.
The film portrays a society where everyone is tagged. Everyone knows what you are doing and where you are at any one time. The alternative is to become a social outcast.
Actually it might not be a social outcast because we didn’t see any alternative societies and so we can’t be sure if there were any. Charlie’s father spoke of some fairly loose groups and a nomadic life style. He also mentioned that the people he mainly spent time with were not violent which suggested that other’s were.
Neither society appears very appealing although there is not really enough information to decide
What do we know about the society within the fence?
– That there are places that are out-of-bounds.
– That if you disobey the law then you, or the person responsible for you has to pay a fine. There was suggestion that if Charlie was an habitual offender he might be punished.
– That some people don’t like this society so they chose to live differently elsewhere. It did not look as though anyone was forced to live inside the fence. The policeman did not try to stop Charlie from leaving with anything other than words.
Not much different to here and now.
– At 13 you have a tracking device implanted. This enables authority to locate you, it enables them to know details about you from their database and you can pay for things with one finger.
How different this is depends on your view of society today. My daughter (15) goes to school in one of the most observes towns in the region. There are a lot of complaints about this. There are security cameras everywhere. In the school they have attendance records and parents are immediately asked where their child is if they don’t respond. She doesn’t have a tracking device but with all the cameras in the town she could be found easily enough.
Many adults have identity and a bank card in their wallet and a mobile phone with a tracking device in their pockets. Our cars have registration plates that can be tracked back to us. Satellites can track our phone and our PC’s all have numbers that you can trace back to the server they are connected to.
We are not far from that society.
What do we know about the society outside the fence?
– They can’t go within the fence as they have no tracking device.
– There are violent and non violent groups.
– They move around.
There is a lot that we don’t know about the society of the groups outside the fence. They do sound remarkably like “travellers”. They have decided to choose a different way of life and they do it.
The choices faced in Charlie 13 are very similar to the choices we face today. We either live in the society we are born into and follow those rules or we seek an alternative. Thirteen might appear to be a very young age to make these decisions to western society but in other societies people are expected to be adults at this age.