This afternoon, thanks to a tip from Matthieu in Paris, I watched The Children of Men, a 2006 science fiction film (deftly directed by Alfonso Cuaron) loosely adapted from P.D. James’s 1992 novel of the same name. The film portrays a dystopian near-world (of 2027) suffering from universal infertility (of unknown cause). With a few surviving outposts (the UK among them), much of civilisation has collapsed. A deluge of refugees leads the government to round up and detain all immigrants. A rebel immigrant rights movement ends up in a full-scale war with government forces. Through this dystopia meanders Clive Owen, playing a former activist, Theo Faron, and Claire-Hope Ashitey, an African-origin illegal immigrant who is miraculously pregnant. Michael Caine in a wispy wig turns in an interesting performance as a dope-smoking hippy political cartoonist (apparently modelled on his friend, John Lennon). The film’s messages of hope, redemption and faith converge in a bit of a corny ending and the book’s exploration of dispair (why struggle for a just society if mankind will soon die out?) is given a wide birth in favour of a fast-moving action plot. The gritty realism (a dirty London is itself, only more so, and a series of long tracking shots) gives the film a sadly believeable edge. I would have prepared a Brazil-type ending but, then, that has been done.