Drawing on aforementioned Seamus Heaney and his symbolic reference to a great sea change or tidal wave indicating that a new chapter is about to begin, and "The City" by contemporary writer Ted Hughes ̶ where a life is read like a poem and in fictional dark [Parisian] city centres the writer roams "my own darkness" ̶ this paper looks at human resilience in the face of an interrupted COVID reality that has brought a fundamental shift to the way we view our surrounding world and our role in society. In our pandemic new era, the idea that “less is more” is quickly becoming a mantra for our times; a time characterised by a distancing from material hype and frantic face-to-face interaction for the sake of it. The current all-pervasive global attitudinal and behavioural change translates into a different way of relating to our surrounding urban space; one more cautious and reluctant than in pre-COVID times, and we also witness how reality and fiction merge – our first-world cinematic reality verging on Sci-Fi surreality. Under these unpredictable new conditions, following the exodus from the city centres is an internalising of our existence as we look within. As the virus still rages outside we turn to Netflix and other online streaming systems within the safety of our own homes and escape into another, parallel, reality. This paper demonstrates, through a filmic analysis, how fiction and our New Normal roll into one and how two 20th-century British poets illuminate our oppressive 2021.
Jytte Holmqvist, University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom