Snowpiercer: The Artist As Historian

Snowpiercer: The Artist As Historian

On the surface bong Joon hos Snowpiercer is quite literally a linear story after a mass extinction event leaving the world in Uninhabitable cold the last fraction of humanity survives on an ark like train that will travel around the world It is supposed eternal the film chronicles the attempt of the impoverished members of the trains tail section as they try to Overtake the godlike captain at the very front Wilford as the tail section Warriors led militarily by Chris Evans as Curtis and spiritually by John Hurt as Gilliam make their way through Successive compartments of the train were treated to a sort of live-action flowchart of the class system in a hierarchical Society It’s quite obvious that snowpiercer is an allegory of class culture and how tensions innate within it lead to Resentment and eventually revolution some have criticized the film for being so transparent in this respect but the genius in director bong Joon hos art how sci-fi action film is not in the message as Such but how through the tools and techniques of filmmaking. He conveys it for example, it’s understandable symbolically why the tail section of the Train might not have any windows for passengers of that section the Train is literally the world In the whole wide just as the lower classes in society are forced to be concerned almost exclusively with survival living at the whims of ideologies invented by those of higher cultural standings show a taste but as Curtis and his van reach the front of the train toward the end of the film we noticed that those sections are also devoid of windows in sauna cars and rave cars and drug cars the affluent members of the upper class are just as encouraged as their counterparts to consider the Train as the Entirety of what there is even in the sacred engine room where ed harris as Wilfred maintains the life-giving machine He created there’s an almost claustrophobic feeling a feeling of only being able to see in the direction of the linear trains linear path the trainers who world dream in the whole wide range of Lzz famously said it’s much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth Then a much more modest radical change in capitalism This philosophy is central to snowpiercer the first time the tail section looks laterally out of the window, their response is As Gilliam attest these people can’t see anything Outside of the Train but death their focus is either forward or backward and all throughout the film We see Kurtis making choices that force him to look in either of these two directions filmed by joon-ho in beautiful profile We go forward small side note the YouTube channel every frame a painting Examined Joon hos artistic use of the profile shot from another of his films mother Which is great and I’ll leave a link for in the description the front and tail sections are similar in Another way in color scheme both are muted in the back It’s a mix of greens and blues in the engine room a kind of off-white predominates a spoiled white symbolizing the false redemption of Curtis’s revolution and indeed as the film bears out. His revolution doesn’t represent salvation for the sufferers of the train as he himself realizes when Wilford names him as the successor Curtis was only perpetuating the system he sought to bring down like so many revolutions in the real world Curtis and Gilliam’s Revolution was in fact an essential part of the exploited of system Joon-ho understands this visually he’s trying to direct our attention to another part of the train and another pair of Protagonists it’s the middle section where windows outfit every car It’s the middle section where a muted colors explode into the full spectrum and it’s two passengers from the middle section namgoong and his daughter Jana who eventually make the choice to derail the train and escape into a world all others see as frozen and dead as Curtis fights his way forward namgoong is repeated leaking with what’s Outside the train making sure his daughter sees that too in this scene. He explains to her. What dirt is that? He used to walk with it under his feet Zeona is a train baby, which means that she’s never known any world But the Train her father educates and protects her from the violence that defines the hierarchical struggle. He wants her to escape By far the most symbolically rich scene of the film and the one I think joon-ho is loudly Signalling as the most important by his use of a full rainbow of color is the car in which the middle-class excuse me, the middle of the Train children are quote-unquote educated of course like the front and the back the middle of the Train is meant to represent the middle class of Something close to but not exactly akin to contemporary capitalist society educated enough to think for themselves yet comfortable enough to be highly susceptible to propaganda the middle class is at once the most Important and the most dangerous cross section of society and the school is the place where the middle class is indoctrinated into a system that will exploit them and those less fortunate where Ideology is most powerful indeed this is how the members of the middle class become the tail sections faceless oppressors all at the bidding of those who languish in hedonism and power earlier in the film Curtis figures out that the blunt tools of those oppressors their guns are Devoid of bullets yet when he gets to the school Joon-ho shows us where the invisible but real violence in this society lies and in a great foreshadowing of the futility of curtis’s quest the guns are hidden underneath eggs death in false birth here again namgoong instruct Sione to look outside as the children are indoctrinated into their propaganda He gives her a true education which eventually comes to fruition in a true lateral escape from their linear A story we like Yona are all of us trained babies born into a system That seems as immutable as the earth in snowpiercer bong Joon-ho gives us a poetic glimpse into how this system works and as he shows in the film sometimes the best historian Is the artist You

Dereck Turner

100 thoughts on “Snowpiercer: The Artist As Historian

  1. Sugarprincess says:

    You are extraordinary!!!!!

  2. tandemcross says:

    We All Freeze To Death Yayyyyyyyy!!!

  3. Edmundo Zaragoza says:

    Exactly. This can be explained if you understand the allegory of the cave by Plato in his 7th installment of the republic…..

  4. Sofia Whetstone says:

    this was really great!

  5. Syco Cinemas says:

    Nansen kills a cat

  6. Ben Hacmon says:

    I enjoyed that video SO much more then the movie.
    Thank you!

  7. Dylan Kelly says:

    jesus. i love your channel, but this is my favourite. really really spot on analysis

  8. MrMiniminh says:

    and this is why i subscricbed to this channel <3

  9. One Light says:

    đź‘Ź good video! Props to all involved

  10. rem- chan says:

    Love that ending

  11. Karl Freud says:

    whats the song at the end??

  12. Nopperabou says:

    I couldn't really enjoy Snowpiercer because it was so badly written. It was only able to achieve drama by violating its own premises. It tells us there is no life left on earth and then there is, characters are dead for dramatic effect and then pop back to life again. The authorities have no bullets and then when story needs it they have bullets again. A trusted character is revealed to be a traitor but at that point he's dead anyway so who cares and too many other stupid examples to name.

  13. Nemo_Veritas says:

    Nice work…

  14. The Pug Has No Name says:

    10/10 analysis man! Great job!

  15. Peyton Sharp says:

    Best analysis video of Snowpiercer i've seen. This greatly helped with my film analysis project, thank you so much!

  16. SAKSHATKC says:

    dude that polar bear ate those fuckin kids bro. thats how the movie really ends. solid fuckin movie tho

  17. Nikola says:

    Yes the movie is original and it has a message, however I found it to be too long and cringy. Cringy is an overused Word, but its perfect for this movie. 5/10

  18. Mohamed El-Sharkawy says:

    "The Best Historian is the Artist". That's not an opinion, it's a verifiable fact.

  19. Sigmund Hoenigsberg says:

    A tale seen thousand times, completely lacking all sophistication, plain to the point of irritation.

  20. YeahThisIsLife says:

    Shit, this gave me chills

  21. DWA4707 says:

    You forgot to talk about Ayn Rand

  22. Sean Murphy says:

    Who maintains the tracks?

  23. Gabriel Urrea says:

    That was absolutly amazing.

  24. Ziv Bartal says:

    I liked how the director tried to stray from the blockbuster sci fi formula and create an actual masterpiece

  25. Eythan Fiorentino says:

    its scary that we accept the end of the world over the end of capitalism

  26. Rubashow says:

    I'm living in a large European country and the notion that the poor are mostly concerned with survival doesn't resonate in me at all.

  27. jayaprakash J says:

    Thanks for your work….

  28. sriram vadapalli says:

    When Nerdwriter does the content analysis and every frame a painting makes the shot analysis of the same movie, it's just _

  29. RAY'S REALM says:

    Tonight I suddenly realized… who should direct the Gambit movie… Bong Joon-ho.

  30. gustav Kmzi says:


  31. Victor Chec8timi says:

    I mean that’s the follow up to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory

  32. E T says:

    Sounds like communist propaganda but ok.

  33. Ked Taczynski says:

    Showpiercer isn't a metaphor for capitalism, it's a REPRESENTATION of a feudalistic society.

  34. Albert Poulsen says:

    Charlie and the chocolate factory 2

  35. diego lopez says:

    I dont know why but snowpiercer reminded me to bioshock

  36. Dan S M says:

    I wish I knew this was a real movie when it was released, it looked like Hollywood BS so I missed it

  37. Jing Yi Tan says:

    I often come back to this and I always get chills

  38. Adewale Umbeteweawea says:

    Lol this is a direct sequel to Willy Wonka

  39. TheLizardhead says:

    Why are you referring the director by his given name rather than surname?

  40. Liam says:

    This film was fuckin DUMB lmao stop pulling fake deep trash from it

  41. Jack O'Gorman says:

    Capitalism is shit until you compare it to every other economic system.

  42. Colton C says:

    Snowpiercer while it is an enjoyable film is midbrow as fuck, not art house.

  43. Sam Steers says:

    Bloody Marxism

  44. Carlos Burgos says:

    My retort is this: is not the artist's view as historian subjective to the viewpoint of the artist. If so, how does art transcend the nature of our existence in deciphering the human condition regardless of class, economic status, individuality, the artist's society and culture? Furthermore, retrospectively is it the duty of the artist to regard class, economic status, etc. objectively and in doing so recreates reality using the imagination as a mirror to discover the truth. Would then the labor of the artist be, to redeem false realities to rationalise the indifference of the surreal?

    Edit: I'm sorry my phone was in my back pocket and my ass like to sound smarter than it really is. I'm honestly stuck on this video. I'm a poet and when I write about horrendous current events, I know I have my privileges as an actionably affirmative member of the middle class; do I merely keep on writing with respect to my class, economic status, etc. even at the cost of betraying my humanity to a certain degree in order to fulfill the requirements of historian? Or do we have to dissociate ourselves to appropriatly examine why is Gamora?

  45. Den Orange, Black and White says:


  46. Ancient Of Days says:

    Great analysis, monumental movie.

  47. Bryn Thomson says:


  48. Benjamin Foster says:

    I love your channel soo much, you analyse and explain a confusing story to me all the time, pls do an analysis of inception

  49. Christopher Giannetti says:

    Oh man, so happy you brought up Every Frame A Painting. That channel doesn't get the love it deserves.

    Also another wonderful analysis Mr. 1!


  50. Vipin Kumar says:

    This is one of the best movie of this decade

  51. CB says:

    lol Imagine using a shit movie like Snowpiercer to try and prove a point hahahaha

  52. Manos Seferidis says:

    I can see the resemblance with Plato's cave allegory. Thank you!

  53. bella ameilon says:

    The True-man show. Earth babies unite!

  54. Spencer Harris says:

    Great analysis of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sequel

  55. Giulio Ricciardi says:

    Very nice analysis. Love this film.

  56. Myles H says:

    “Something close to but not exactly akin to contemporary capitalist society”
    Isn’t capitalism the farthest thing away from this narrative? Namgoong is the capitalist here. The rest have a class based feudal mindset

  57. Johann Sebastian Bach says:

    2:17 –> As Marx puts "the positive alienation vs negative alienation."

  58. Najmi Zahir Handalan says:

    Now, it has been investigated that The Chocolate Factory saga consists of 2 audiences :
    Charlie and The Chocolate Factory was a reality provided towards children
    Snowpiercer provided towards humanity in its most realistic way yet remain imaginery as its original

    Source :

  59. AnagnĂłrisis says:


  60. Txawjhlub Lao says:

    I understood the whole movie. It was still boring though, someone had to say it lol

  61. Telegram Productions says:

    I'm very fond of this film having just now seen it but it would have been nice to see the dead protagonists i.e. Curtis and Namgoong as actually dead because you spend a little while waiting for confirmation of Curtis death in particular.
    Now Curtis death was essential to the narrative as he proves to be a reformed villain who's come full circle through revolutionary leader to potential dictator and his self sacrifice is essential but it would have been nice to confirm it so the narrative can pass to the two young people without us having to go "Is EVERYONE else dead? Oh right everyone else must be dead."
    Quick couple o' shots of all the death wouldn't have hurt.
    Speaking of dead those two train babies don't know what a polar bear is or that a polar bear is the only animal on earth that will actively hunt humans for food without fear.
    Those kids are dead.
    Dystopian fiction tends not to have happy endings.
    And one last thought…
    What how did the Ooompah Loompah's go extinct?

  62. dmoneytron says:

    What a wonderful ending. Revolutions are made for the children.

  63. MetaphorMadness says:

    Very good analysis once more. Check this theory on the movie. It makes sence in a weird way.

  64. DaVeY CrotchKick says:

    Willy-Wonka Sequel! <3 I had No Idea! I want to See This SO Bad now..

  65. Lucien Josephy says:

    wow this movie looks great

  66. lmiddleman says:

    Yeah yeah, and they were gonna eat an Irish baby… Jonathan Swift, we get it. It's really just a crappy movie.

  67. Riccardo Wright says:

    Zizek ❤

  68. Lime says:

    Snowpiercer is a dog shit movie. Change my mind.

  69. Random Roadchhap Reviews says:

    i am leaving the train. i am leaving the matrix.

  70. Seventh Seal says:

    #oneconsent #aboutthefutureoftrains #onedaypeoplewillliveonatrainandwillliveouttheirentirelivesonamovingtrain #andneverbeabletoleave #aspartoftherevealation #youwontbeabletostickyourarmoutofthetrainwithoutitfreezingsolid #cernisbuildinganabsolutezerofrictionlessbullettrain #aspartofwhatwasrevealedtothemwiththe1989 #pigfilament 3andabsolutezerobullettrains #andabsolutezerobullettrains ##asuspenedtraininnearabsolutionzerostatsis #cantravelatimmensespeeds #andifyoustickyourhandoutthetrainitwillfreezesolid #asstatedinthemovie #theclandestineworldisfakeandthewindowsareillusions #tokeepthemfromeverleavingthetrain #train #absolutezerobullettrain #snowpiercer

  71. Natalia Scordamaglia says:

    The problem is that today artists are more on the side of the upper class, and defend their place of comfort within the middle class.

  72. Nady Pomyateeva says:

    Please do Parasite! Please!

  73. Derek Holcomb says:

    The sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Look it up.

  74. Ariel Santos says:

    Willy Wonka pt 2

  75. M H says:

    Thank you for this analysis. I watched Snowpiercer in theaters and immediately afterwards regretted wasting money and time going to see something so shallow and cliched, when it clearly strives (but fails) to be meaningful. It is like all the other stories which present the basic class system and doesn't reveal interesting alternatives* or anything thought-provoking about it. To me, the movie is still boring – a story everyone's heard a hundred times (though it was the first time I've witness a fictional story blatantly puke the allegory all over my shoes, and just in case I didn't see it, proceed to point to the mess at my feet for two hours without offering to clean it up), but at least your essay here gave me one or two other points I missed, like the guns and middle-train windows. As much as I dislike the movie, I can appreciate when someone voices what they liked about it.

    *: (Reverting to a tribal, hunter-gatherer system at the end of the movie is cute, but who's to say when two becomes tens of thousands, civilisation on ground won't create class and hierarchy again.)

  76. Bob Walters says:

    Your finest work, NW1. A truly deep and on point analysis of this fine film. Your climax had me…nodding my head with respect. Thank you for sharing this.

  77. odibex says:

    it always bothered me that Thomas the Tank Engine refused to acknowledge he was a train

  78. Slev001 says:

    Very good analysis. Also it’s a sequel to Charlie and the chocolate factory

  79. Theodore D says:

    It’s a brilliant movie

  80. Benjels says:

    Nerdwritter is a communist

  81. H H says:

    Can we at least know what is the music in the back round?

  82. Ewan Fairley says:

    Did anyone notice that once the flame is used the fighting loses its music and the spectacle because they passes where their rebellion was meant to reach.

  83. bobo sosa says:

    Good work

  84. Rhaidy Yassine says:

    i liked the "You" at the end of the Video!

  85. Tilly W says:

    "They have no memory of what it’s like to be on the Earth. For them to procreate, it’s going to take a little time. So, for me, it’s a very hopeful ending … But those two kids will spread the human race … I don’t really feel everyone must die. I hope there were other survivors who lived through the avalanche, I just didn’t have the means to shoot that … You realize later on that the kids are the ones keeping this engine going, and this machinery intact. The engine is itself is on its way to extinction along with cigarettes, and other goods. Extinction is a repeated word throughout the film. But outside the train, life is actually returning. It’s nature that’s eternal, and not the train or the engine, as you see with the polar bear at the end" – Bong Joon-ho on Snowpiercer's ending

  86. Firat Deniz Erdogan says:

    Best video in youtube ever, right in the feels. keep the good work up!

  87. Diego Gilly says:

    Where did you get that quote from Zizek? Do you mind mentioning the source?

  88. funky35791 says:

    It’s also a sequel to Willy wonka

  89. Gabriel Gallardo says:

    I have noticed classism commentary the first time I've watched the film. But not in this level of specificity. Great job, bro!

  90. Alice L says:

    Absolutely brilliant analysis!!

  91. Bug Fighter says:

    To be fair, that world is quite literally frozen and dead.

  92. Ayyub says:

    Please Review battle royale

  93. Amaan Khan says:


  94. Rachel Marie-Pfeifer says:

    Incredible work.

  95. Lemon says:

    It's called the "escape of the seven" or something but I can only see 5. 6:33

    Either two survived mainly the innuits or the last missing two were the girl and child who escaped at the end of the movie.

  96. Welpensteiger says:

    Can someone please tell me what's the soundtrack running in the background of the video?

  97. Dustin Clark says:

    Sick essay. Sick movie. đź‘Ś

  98. Indien Filmmaker says:

    It would be so cool if Bong Joon Ho sees this and tells if NerdWriter is right!

  99. Gurjot says:

    You are one of the most important persons alive on earth, Evan Puschak.

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