Back To Utopia

Fabio Wuytack

Belgium 2016, 1h 22min.

We also mark the 500 years by turning our attention to the film Back to Utopia.

Sir Thomas More’s book Utopia (see a coming essay also) inspired both communism and utopian socialism. It was all about sharing, the land belonging to the people rather than private ownership, shorter working days, a better future, and developing a well-informed authority. More (Catholics know him as Saint Thomas More) viewed the then State as exploiting the people even though they claimed the opposite – not unlike the way today’s state or capitalist elites deceive their voters and consumers. More was employed by King Henry VIII, but as a religious man could not accept the King as head of the Church. As a result, he was sentenced to death by hanging for treason – whereby he was taken down, barely alive, castrated, his innards torn out and burnt in front of his own eyes, before being beheaded. His head was boiled and put on a stake on the city bridge. His daughter Margaret – the film depicts her as reading her father’s book – acquired the head by bribing a guard, then hid it to avoid it being tossed into the Thames. It is said that when the loving daughter was buried, she held her father’s head in her hands.

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