Quiet Earth, The (1985)

The Quiet Earth (1985), directed by Geoff Murphy.

A guilty scientist -- who did not mean to wake up at all -- awakens to find the entire population of Earth has been raptured away, leaving their unmade beds and uneaten meals. Is it the result of an experiment gone wrong? Reality seems unstable. Has he actually slipped into another universe, and what happens next?

I take this less as a science fiction film and as more of a metaphysical fable, structured in the classical form of:

I saw this New Zealand picture in the theater but remembered almost nothing about it, apart from the fabulous final scene of a giant ringed planet rising over a strange ocean. Now I see that mirrors the opening scene: the sun rises every day but is no less fabulous.

I don't see it in the credits, but this is almost a remake of The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959): white man, black man (actually Maori), white woman.

The DVD is out of print in North America but I was able to get it from Netflix. Import DVDs and Blu-rays are available.

My rental had no subtitles but had ancient Closed Captioning. A little work with MakeMKV, CCExtractor and mkvmerge produces a mkv file with lovely SRT subtitles. Accomplishing what the studio should have done.

A commentary track by the producer gives many production details. Shooting deserted city streets is not that difficult in New Zealand because everyone takes weekends off and the downtowns are deserted.

He says that -- to their amazement -- the film did quite well.