Insurance – whereby individuals protect themselves against the risks threatening their lives and well-being – is present in all areas of society and, of course, also in the art world. In this section we have already talked about the relationship insurance has with the world of painting or architecture and, in this issue, we will see how it has also permeated the seventh art, i.e. cinema. There are lots of movies and TV series in which, without necessarily being the protagonist, insurance plays a part and can lead the plot in one direction or another.
TEXT: ANA SOJO IMAGES: ISTOCK
Natural disaster movies are a genre by themselves and, in general, are guaranteed box-office hits. They sell massive amounts of popcorn, as there is nothing like watching the planet’s destruction from a cozy movie theater seat. We are talking about movies such as The Day After Tomorrow or 2012.
The Impossible, however, is based on a real catastrophe that most of us remember.
It tells the story of what happened to a Spanish family on holiday in Thailand when the tsunami hit on December 26, 2004. The losses incurred by the insurance industry pale into insignificance when we are dealing with over 220,000 lives lost.
One of the most striking aspects of this movie is the realism it manages to convey. It shows how, in just a few seconds, a paradise turns into extreme desolation, revealing the absolute fragility of human life in the face of nature’s ferocity. After the wave, the ensuing trials and tribulations of the family members until their joyous, miraculous reunion tug at our heartstrings.
Well, in this movie, insurance indeed offers a discreet, yet definitive stellar moment; after witnessing the destruction, the pain of all the injuries and the most diverse difficulties, an insurance agent appears and uses more or less these words to calm the family: “We are here to look after your family. You have nothing to worry about now. In a few hours, we will be in Singapore General Hospital… where your wife will receive the best treatment.”
And that is when you allow yourself to catch your breath and relax, as you know that, from that moment on, everything will be fine.
Fried Green Tomatoes
While it does not directly address the question of insurance, this movie contains one of the most memorable scenes from the last twenty years regarding automobile insurance.
The movie tells the story of a housewife called Evelyn who is dissatisfied with her life. On one of her nursing home visits she happens to meet an elderly lady, Ninny, who starts sharing tales that gradually make a thrilling story that took place in Alabama in 1920.
Little by little Evelyn will strike up a great friendship with the old woman and, thanks to the fascinating story, will manage to stem the inertia and decisively regain control of her life. In short, this is a tale of friendship and the ability we all possess to overcome hurdles and change our lives.
The scene that concerns us takes place in the parking lot of a shopping mall.
After driving round several times looking for a parking space, our protagonist waits for someone to finish packing their shopping and leave so that she can park there. When she is about to park, a car with two youngsters on board slots rapidly into the free space.
When Evelyn tells them that she was waiting to park there, the girls reply:
—Admit it: we’re younger and faster.
After recovering from the shock and thinking for a moment, Evelyn smashes her car several times into the rear of the girls’ car. The young girls rush over and ask what she is doing, to which she responds with this magnificent phrase:
—Admit it: I’m older and my insurance covers everything.
It is easy to imagine that this all risks insurance has proved especially satisfactory for this policyholder.
Produced by Antonio Banderas in 2014, this movie premiered at the San Sebastian and Sitges Festivals. It is a science fiction film whose protagonist, played by Antonio Banderas, is an insurance agent, Jacq Vaucan, for the ROC Robotics Corporation.
Vaucan is investigating a claim related to a “family unit insurance policy”, specifically the case of a robot that has allegedly violated the first law of robotics. These laws, based on those formulated by Asimov in 1942, are as follows:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. Vaucan will do whatever it takes to complete his investigations, ignoring the advice of those around him.
This is a futuristic, apocalyptic dystopia whose aesthetics are, to a large extent, indebted to classics like Blade Runner, with its dark, uncomfortable and, at times, desolate atmosphere that seems increasingly to correspond more to the past than to the future.
The humanization of the machines in stark contrast with the dehumanization of people and the artificial intelligence developing independently of the robots’ creators, and even surpassing them, makes this movie a rare beast within Spanish cinema.