This June Inverness Film Fans (InFifa) launch a new season, bringing five outstanding sci-fi films to the big screen. InFifa’s Dominic Thierry introduces Visions of Future Past.
Why science fiction? We live at a point in human existence when many of the possibilities that were hinted at in the fields of literature and cinema are no longer fiction. We have chosen five films that offer intelligent scenarios, visuals that demonstrate cinema’s ability to portray imagined scenarios and also illustrate how ruminations on the future contain concerns regarding our present and what is yet to come.
Our initial presentation is to be Blade Runner. As with many films the reputation of this movie has steadily grown from cult to classic. Its origins lie with Phillip K. Dick’s, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and the film presents us with one of the central debates of our time; how do humans relate to synthetic humans in whatever form?
It was ground-breaking not only in terms of ideas but also visuals. The presentation of the city in the opening scenes is still among the most impressive, calling to mind the equally atmospheric opening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, setting the urban/dystopian feel of so many of the films in this genre. The eternal rain is a potent means of depicting the portending climate crisis. The film demonstrates what came to be termed ‘neo-noir’ with a ‘cyber-punk’ look that has again become an accepted trope in many science-fiction movies.
The version shown will be the final cut, which director Ridley Scott says most closely depicts his intentions.
We will also screen Blade Runner 2049, the ‘acid-trip’ follow up by Dennis Villeneuve (Dune) that really has to be seen on the big screen to experience the full cinematic depiction of the global wreckage created by humankind.
In Silent Running (1972), again disaster has struck Earth with all plant life threatened by a mystery virus. The last vestiges have been sent into space to colonise another planet. Here eco-cide and humankind’s part in it are explicit. The highly inventive visuals are by director Douglas Trumbull, straight from his triumphant collaboration with Stanley Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Arrival (2016) is chosen in part for its stunning visual impact upon the big screen. Again directed by Denis Villeneuve, it differs in that it does not concern itself with our self-destruction but rather in humankind’s difficulties in communication - ostensibly with aliens but in essence with one another. It has been described as a science fiction film for those who resist the genre in general.
Last in our season is Children of Men (2006), set in the near ‘far off’ of 2027, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. This is another visually arresting film that works on many levels. Given the currently falling sperm count amongst males this dystopian future posits that humans can no longer re-produce, with the world ending with a whimper not a bang, as countenanced by the poet T.S. Eliot in The Wasteland.
As with all our showings we believe each one benefits from being seen on the big screen, the central reason and premise for the existence of InFifa, and we are grateful to Eden Court for their contribution to these screenings.
In our discussions following on from the presentations we intend to address not only the films in their own right, but also as stories that seek to illustrate and examine our hopes and fears for the impending to be.
This blog was written by Dominic Thierry, Inverness Film Fans.
All films on sale now except Children of Men (on sale soon!).