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Dawn of the Dread
As Irish director Conor Horgan’s post-apocalyptic drama One Hundred Mornings is released, he talks to Roe McDermott about societal breakdowns, morality and why even at the end of the world we’ll be sleeping with the wrong people.
Roe McDermott, 10 May 2011
“I’m not one of these guys who walks up and down the street with a large sign saying ‘The End Is Nigh!’ Honestly!” laughs Irish director Conor Horgan, “but it does seem fairly obvious that if you look at the challenges we’re facing and the level of activity we’re putting in to meet those challenges, there’s a rather large gap. If that gap isn’t closed then things will probably not go well.”
It’s this scary reality that Horgan explores in his feature debut One Hundred Mornings, a slow-burning post-apocalyptic drama that’s sure to get people talking. Starring Ciaran McMenamin and Alex Reid, the film focuses on two young couples living together in a cabin on the outskirts of Dublin following a societal breakdown, the details of which are never divulged. But though his film focuses mainly on the individual’s reactions to a crisis, it’s clear that Horgan has given a lot of thought to the possible – and terrifyingly palpable – causes of such a disaster.
“I was reading a lot about how when a society breaks down,” he says, “and all it really takes is for one of the legs to be kicked away, and things can topple fairly quickly. And of course once that happens, it’s very difficult to get things back up and running again, especially if it’s a wide societal breakdown. We’ve never experienced a global one, obviously, but when it happens in local areas, as it happened in New Orleans after Katrina, everything just stopped working very, very quickly.”
Horgan was also inspired by comments made by author Margaret Atwood when he heard her speak on a book tour. The Booker Prize-winning novelist has written several science-fiction novels, including Oryx and Crake, The Year Of The Flood and The Handmaid’s Tale, which was made into a (quite unfortunate) film starring the late Natasha Richardson.
In other words, Horgan chose his muse well. “She was speaking and she said, incredibly matter-of-factly, ‘Well of course any species that outgrows its resource base doesn’t survive.’ And you could just feel this chill around the room, because it was so simply and elegantly put – inarguably put. She also recommended a book called A Short History Of Progress by Ronald Wright which I read. The message, putting it frankly, was that it’s only a matter of time. Unless we change our behaviour in a very radical way, what has happened locally will happen globally.”