Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
West Germany, 1973, 206 mins
Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvlQ8TQsmQA
An engineer begins to suspect that the vast top-secret computer project he’s working on, Simulacron—which brings to virtual life a community of ten thousand robotic humanoids—is being used for evil. When one colleague dies and another disappears along with all traces of his existence, the engineer investigates by means of a mental-transport helmet that allows him to enter the mind of one of his creations.
“With its paranoid streak and its foreshadowing of Avatar and Shutter Island, the German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s science-fiction thriller may be even timelier now than when it was made. Fassbinder’s brilliantly sardonic approach decks the future out in high-gloss seventies kitsch (Plexiglas and mirrors, lacquered wood and chrome) and ubiquitous video screens, which reflect, distort, and multiply identities as readily as his panoply of zooms, pans, tracking shots, and shock cuts; his vision of a world out of joint resembles a video game gone haywire.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“The look of the film was influenced by Fassbinder’s admiration for Douglas Sirk, who deployed mirrors as visual punctuation for his emotionally labyrinthine melodramas. Sirk was on Fassbinder’s mind at this time: in an essay published in 1971, Fassbinder cites his use of mirrors many times, writing that “Sirk has said you can’t make films about something, you can only make films with something—with people, with light, with flowers, with mirrors, with blood, with all these crazy things that make it worthwhile.” Sirk also once remarked that “the mirror is the imitation of life. What is interesting about a mirror is that it does not show yourself as you are; it shows you your own opposite.” - Ed Halter (critic and curator living in New York)
Its cameraman, and frequent Fassbinder collaborator, Michael Ballhaus had this to say, “A large part of the film was shot in Paris, where, moreover, the screenplay was worked out in a little bistrot. The difficulty was how to represent the future. A near-future. The search for an architect of the future. In Paris, everything was changing. The new neighbourhoods greatly interested us. No little gardens, it had a futurist point of view, with big cubes. Shooting also in shopping centres, which didn’t exist in Germany at the time. Subterranean ones, where we could already find everything, shops, restaurants … snack bars, refreshment stands.”
“This long unseen three-and-a-half-hour labyrinth is a satiric and surreal look at the weird world of tomorrow from one of cinema’s kinkiest geniuses.” – Janus Films
In the second part of the film, the scene at Fred's cabin: When the camera moves around the cabin, at one point the shadow of the camera is clearly projected on the wooden wall.
Note: one screening only 6pm at Downtown Cinemas.
Members only. Palmerston North Film Society Membership is available at the door before each screening and lasts for one full year.