Luis Martínez Madrid


Updated Thursday, February 8, 2024-22:49

  • Ballard's 'Skyscraper' Domestic Dystopia

  • The house of 'Parasites' Architecture of inequality

Since Hobbes said that man is a wolf to man (

homo homini lupus

, in Latin), there have been many wolf associations that have asked the British author for explanations. It is not right to insult a poor mammal in that way, no matter how carnivorous it may be.

Concrete Utopia

, the new work by Korean

Um Tae-hwa

, wants to be the proof that the animal kingdom needed to, if necessary,


cancel the author of


. It is that and a new example that in few places on the planet metaphors hurt as much as in South Korea (in the North the literary figures have been burning for a long time). We were already in trouble when Bong Joon-ho turned his most famous work,


, into a perfect x-ray of privilege in times of

happy, unhappy capitalism

. Then Hwang Dong-hyuk's

The Squid Game

hit home screens

, and it became clear that we are hopeless. The man is definitely a Korean for the man.

"Can't we be peaceful and supportive citizens?" says one of the characters in

Concrete Utopia

as soon as the film begins. To put it in perspective, an earthquake has devastated entire Seoul and

only one building remains standing

. What follows is basically the most extreme version of

Here There Is No One Live

imaginable . Quickly, the housing block will rush to organize itself so that it is clear that only the owners have the right to be there; that if the rest of the city is hungry or has nowhere to go or is dying of cold,

it would be better for them to have tried harder when they were in time

. What is happening, that meritocracy is no longer valid? And so, what seemed like a quiet community of neighbors with its ancestral problems of spills, downspouts and bills not paid in a timely manner will soon become a

fascist mini-state concerned mainly with what fascist mini-states worry about

: what if the squatters What if illegal immigration, what if borders, what if the defense of private property at all costs, what if the perks of the fittest (those who rule), what if the anthem, what if the flag...

To know more


Lee Sun-kyun, protagonist of Parasites, a suicide for honor?: "His audience would not forgive him if he had broken the law"


Lee Sun-kyun, protagonist of Parasites, a suicide for honor?: "His audience would not forgive him if he had broken the law"


Robert Pattinson will star in the new film from the director of Parasites

  • Editorial: EFE Los Angeles

Robert Pattinson will star in the new film from the director of Parasites

It is clear that if the answer to the question that begins the previous paragraph were yes and, consequently, it were possible to live in peace and solidarity,

we would be left without a film

. And you don't have to sacrifice so much either.

In reality,

Concrete Utopia

does not add a comma to all the literature and audiovisual production convinced that

Lord of the Flies

, by William Golding, is the book that should be taken to a desert island. Just in case, sorry. Grace, in fact, is not so much originality, which there is none, but grace itself. The director manages to create a

friendly and very vibrant delirium

that is as cruel as it is unprejudiced; funny and tragic at the same time. And always outrageously witty. The action scenes flash across the screen like a flash of lucidity and some pain.

The moments of humor that appear in the ambient desperation that covers everything are simply masterful. And bleeding. And in this way, it is impossible to detach oneself for a single second from a narrative that discusses with the same conviction disaster films, always with

a killjoy hero

in the middle, as it does apocalyptic productions one step away from everyday dystopia.

If you like, the reference work is

The Skyscraper ,

JG Ballard

's novel

made into a film by Ben Wheatley. This was a story that perfectly illustrated the author's old maxim that "the only interesting future is the next five minutes." It is not the distant and strangely familiar future that deserves our attention, but

the present of highways, concrete intersections and luxury buildings

with glass railings. Utopia as a monstrous dream of hungry wolves is this society that we have become determined to discuss about the imminence of the climate crisis while sacrificing the possibility of affection and preparing for the total liberation of its repressed instincts.

In reality,

Concrete utopia

does not aspire to that much. He


lets himself be carried away

without disappointing a single one of the most lacerating and disastrous expectations of a viewer who knows he is being faithfully portrayed. In a single blink, all moral certainties collapse and they do so suddenly, with a crash. The idea is not so much to prove anything as to illustrate once again that it is not fair to dump our incompetence on the animal kingdom.