2020 has been surreal and you would not be remiss if you felt like you were in a blockbuster movie. A global pandemic, natural disasters, political unrest and mass protests, and let us not forget the murder hornets. As the Northern Hemisphere gears up to celebrate Halloween, we take a look at how the state of the world stacks up against imaginary ones in the movies.

Global Pandemic / Contagion

As the world lived through the global pandemic, some of us could not help but compare it to the 2011 movie: Contagion. The film follows the spread of a deadly virus, the frantic attempts by health officials to identify and contain the disease and the anarchy that unfolds. Sound familiar?

As the global health crises unfold, suddenly the 9-year-old film catapulted into a must-see movie, however, now it doesn’t seem like a horror or disaster film, but a documentary.

Read also: 5 Anxiety-Inducing Films on Pandemics

American Elections / Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Trump and the American presidential elections have been dominating the political headlines in 2020. No doubt, Trump has been consistent in providing fodder to comedians across the globe. In Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Sasha Baron Cohen holds up a mirror to America’s far right, weaponising bigotry against itself in an intense plea for Americans to vote Trump out.

In an interview with The New York Times, Baron Cohen said, “we wanted it to be a reminder to women of who they’re voting for – or who they’re not voting for. If you’re a woman and you don’t vote against this guy, then know what you’re doing for your gender.”

“My aim here was not to expose racism and anti-Semitism,” he said of the sequel. “The aim is to make people laugh, but we reveal the dangerous slide to authoritarianism.”

Black Lives Matter / 13th

The death of George Floyd at the hands of four police officers shone a light on police brutality and racism. The incident motivated crowds to attend marches all around the world to support the Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Lives Matter social movement advocates for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidents of police brutality and racially motivated violence against black people.

Netflix introduced a Black Lives Matter category in June this year with a range of curated films, TV series and documentaries that focus on powerful and complex narratives about the Black experience.

The 13th is Ava DuVernay’s harrowing, Oscar-nominated documentary that exposes and analyzes the flaws in the U.S. prison system that disproportionately afflict the Black community. Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.

Read also: The Case of George Floyd is One That is All Too Familiar

Climate change / David Attenborough: A life on our planet

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 2020 is a critical year for our future and for the climate. The sooner we take action, the better our chances at preventing the impacts of our rapidly warming world.

“Like investing in your retirement, the sooner we take action, the better chance we have at preventing the direst impacts of our rapidly warming world. The world’s best scientists tell us that to undo the most extreme scenarios of climate change, 2020 must be the year for coordinated, comprehensive climate action. But we’ve got a lot of work to do before then.” WWF

In October 2020, David Attenborough released a new film, “Life on our Planet” a moving documentary mapping the planet’s biodiversity and how it has diminished over his lifetime. David Attenborough calls this film his “witness statement” and this honest, revealing and urgent first-hand account of humanity’s impact on nature and a message of hope for future generations.

Wildfires / Fire Chasers

The 2020 fire season has been record-breaking. California is still battling a series of blazes and, recently, Orange County officials have told 90 000 people to evacuate. However, the wildfires have not been limited to America. In the first seven months of 2020, more than 13 000sq km (5,019sq miles) of the Amazon was destroyed. Australia rang in the new year with raging wildfires. To date, the Australian fires ravaged more than 115,00sq km (44,400 sq miles) of drought-stricken bushland and forest.

Only the Brave (2017) is a fact-based account of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters from Arizona who set their own backfires to combat and contain wildfires, is an epic that encompasses several years. This real-life disaster movie provides an opportunity to get up close with the firefighting profession and the raging fires in all their visual splendour.

Dominique Heusdens