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Looking Back ‘The Platform’ Amid Covid Crisis

Credit: Netflix

Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, the Spanish horror, ‘The Platform‘ (2019), serves as an act of symbolism, foregrounding the unjust class system through an extended metaphor which I personally think is presented throughout the film. From the outset, Goreng, played by the incredibly talented Iván Massagué, almost represents the perspective of an outsider, viewing this worldwide social system for the first time. Upon entry, he is immediately faced with the challenges of the platform when Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor) explains that a huge platter of food descends through the prison-like column daily, indicating that the people on the lower platforms are left to starve with ‘los restos’ (the leftovers), since the majority of food is eaten by the more privileged people at the top levels.

It is interesting to see how Gaztelu-Urrutia portrays the irregularity of where the inhabitants are placed on the different platforms, suggesting that even if people are moral or clever, they are not shown to deserve their place on the top levels any more than a murderer. Everyone is viewed as equal within the prison. This led me to theorise the true meaning behind the film. Perhaps the director wanted to show that sometimes even the most privileged people are wealthy by luck and not through their own determination or talent. Technically, in the film, the people on the top levels are the most powerful because the amount they eat hugely impacts the survival rate of the prisoners below them. Possibly, the director wanted to show that even the people in power do not always deserve to be there.

Relating this concept to our lives, when the Corona virus struck the United Kingdom, the public raided the supermarkets and picked up an excessive amount of supplies because they had the power and money to do so. This left the more vulnerable people (those who needed the supplies the most) without the sufficient materials so due to the privileged people’s greed, others had to suffer. At one part during the film, Goreng, alongside his new cellmate, attempts to ration the food on the platform, hoping that the people below them would have a better chance of survival. However, it is evident that the people on the other platforms do not choose to cooperate, again, presenting society’s natural greed.

Credit: Netflix

In my opinion, the ending of the film is ambiguous and could be interpreted in many ways. Resorting to violence, Goreng and his final cellmate, Baharat, board the platform and descend, attacking anyone who tries to take more food than their ration. As they reach the lower levels, they realise that the prison is deeper than they thought. This could represent how the most privileged people in society do not understand the extreme poverty which is occurring before them. At last, the two men reach a level where they can see a child whose innocence juxtaposes the horror, violence and injustice which has been showcased.

Seemingly starving, she eats the last dish on the platform. Her character interests me because it would have been impossible for her to survive so far down in the prison. This shows how perhaps she represents the literal ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’ Within her is the hope that one day society will be less unfair and wealthy people will be more considerate and aware of their privileges. At the end, she ascends on the platform and I have chosen to construe this as a message sent to the people on the top levels, hoping that they will notice what they have done.

Lottie Aikens

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