Little Joe

One advantage of going to see niche (i.e. unpopular) films was that social distancing came free with your ticket. The last film we saw in the old days, when people went to the cinema, was Little Joe. For one (Monday) night only, with about 20 punters – positively crowded.

Of course it really was social distancing back then, rather than safety-critical risk mitigation.

Just harmless stuff – keeping out of earshot from people having a final chat, right up to the first line of dialogue. (How do you ask someone nicely but firmly to STFU without making more noise than they are? The hard stare doesn’t work in pitch darkness.) Or trying to keep a smartphone out of your eyeline while someone says a tearful au revoir to their social media presence.

With time on your hands you can catch up with all the smart thinking books which looked so interesting in Waterstones. But then you need to retain what you’ve read, ideally in some sort of order. The authors don’t help you with smart memorising tricks because then you might realise they’d basically written the same book six times. Actually, even when the book is fullof smart memory techniques they seem to get away with it.

One of these books said nurturing a houseplant boosts your happy hormones and creativity or something. Possibly 0:59 by Richard Wiseman which I foolishly took back to the library.

Little Joe takes this concept even further. It’s about a houseplant which wafts oxytocin around, so everyone feels connected and happy. Which sounds lovely, except universal happiness may not be all it’s cracked up to be… So we’re back to risk mitigation and distancing.

A key influence is Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the atmosphere is very unsettling – it’s colourful, but not in a good way. Helped along by a disconcerting Japanese score. But overall, it’s a very well made and amusing film.

DVD/Blu-Ray release is due on 15th June. By then it should be clearer if we’re at the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning.

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