By Vanessa Rupertus

Elm Staff Writer

Netflix’s popular original, “Bird Box,” has accumulated one of the most polarized audiences to date, with the viewers either absolutely loving the movie or hating every aspect of it.

Originating from a novel of the same name by Josh Malerman, “Bird Box” is set in a post-apocalyptic, near-future world, where just a glimpse of mysterious monsters cause people to commit suicide.

The movie revolves around the life of Malorie, portrayed by Sandra Bullock, and her two children.

From the unwise creation of the Bird Box Challenge, where those participating try to do daily activities blindfolded, to the plethora of memes floating around the web, it seems “Bird Box” has yet again gained unwanted attention on media platforms.

Only this time it’s the entire Canadian government with complaints to air against the film.

Footage used in the beginning of the movie, where Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson’s characters witness the worldwide chaos on television, originates from a real-life disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, where a train transporting crude oil derailed and exploded on July 6, 2013, resulting in the death of 47 people.

While Netflix acquired the footage through legal means, the Canadian parliament has requested its removal from the film. The request was considered, but ultimately denied, with Netflix apologizing for any harm it caused.

Despite a long tradition of filmmakers changing content after release due to the public’s reaction, Netflix has made their stance firm that they will not modify “finished content.”

The mayor of Lac-Megantic, Julia Morin, voiced her distaste with Netflix’s decision: “It’s hard enough for our citizens to see these images when they are used normally and respectfully on the news. Just imagine, to have them used as fiction as if they were invented.”

The Canadian parliament is now demanding compensation for the people of Lac-Megantic due to the negative emotional impact of the footage’s usage.

“For people in Lac-Megantic, they saw images of their own downtown burning, and could imagine their own families in it,” stated legislator Pierre Nantel.

This usage of disaster footage occurs more often than you’d expect. Filmmakers often adapt real life tragedies into fictional events to capture the realism and save money in production.

Since Netflix went through the proper channels to legally license the disaster footage from the stock vendor, Pond5, it’s unlikely that the company will face any legal complications concerning this manner.

Pond5 also issued an apology to those affected by the footage through an explanation to Buzzfeed, claiming that it was “taken out of context,” and the company had “no intentions to dishonor the tragic events of 2013.”

The CEO of Pond5 also expressed his condolences, stating, “We didn’t do all we could on our end to make sure that people understood the sensitive nature of the content, because what happened is not appropriate.”

Netflix has not yet responded to the request for compensation, and by how unmoving the streaming service has been concerning this matter, it seems unlikely that the people of Lac-Megantic will receive it.

The Elm

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