Special Events

Upcoming Special Events

Conquest of Space Future Screen
The Milky Way Galaxy from the film, Powers of Ten, by Charles and Ray Eames, 1977 Eames Office, LLC

Conquest of Space Future Screen

Film Program at AGNSW and COFA

May 10 – July 5

Film program at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and COFA, UNSW, as part of Conquest of Space.

Cinematic science fiction (SF) has grown from a B movie genre into a series of world-dominating entertainment franchises. While the mainstream SF blockbuster is predictably conservative and presents variations on well-worn formulas, SF cinema over the last 15 years has also produced a series of intriguing and thoughtful films that revisit some of the genre’s most popular concepts – from the giant monster movie to the time travel puzzler, from the cutting satire to the romantic dystopia.

The film program will include:

Dir. Gareth Edwards, 2010. UK. 94 mins.

Gareth Edwards’ Monsters 2010 tells the story of an American photojournalist who must accompany his boss’s daughter to the safety of the U.S. via a vast “infected zone” – a stretch of northern Mexico where a crashed space probe has brought alien life to Earth. Along the way the film finds contemporary resonances for the monster, equating its creatures with our faltering understanding of nature, and our abiding fear of the unknown.
Screening: May 10, Art Gallery of NSW

Dir. Rian Johnson, 2012, USA. 119 mins.

In 2074 a crime syndicate uses time travel to dispose of its problems in 2044, Joe is a “looper” – a hit man employed to kill those sent back in time and then dispose of the bodies – with ambitions to travel to France and live the good life. But things go awry when his loop is unexpectedly ‘closed’ as he encounters his older self sent back from the future. Young Joe botches the job and, on the run, he must find and kill Old Joe.
Screening: May 17, Art Gallery of NSW

A Scanner Darkly
Dir. Richard Linklater, 2006. USA. 100 mins.

Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly 2006 is one of the most faithful adaptations of the work of SF writer Philip K. Dick’s brand of existential terror, placing its action in an alternate reality Southern California: undercover police officer Agent Fred is investigating a group of petty criminals while posing as a drug addict named Bob Arctor, in an effort to find the source of “Substance D” – a highly addictive, mind-altering drug. Things start to get weird when Fred/Bob begins questions who he is – is he a police officer or a drug addict? With the aid of a “scramble suit” his true identity and that of other police officers is unknown.
Screening: May 24, Art Gallery of NSW

Dawn of The Dead
Dir. Zack Snyder, 2004, USA. 101 mins.

While the recent outbreak of zombie movies echo the anxieties of a post-AIDS/SARS world, the subgenre’s themes of infection, panic, violence and the collapse of society itself, date back to the time of Herodotus. Dawn of The Dead compresses its themes down to a hectic pre-opening credits sequence, and then sets headlong into a story of survival set in an empty shopping mall.
Screening: May 31, Art Gallery of NSW

Powers of Ten
Dir. Eames Office [Charles and Ray Eames], 1977, USA. 9 mins.

Based on the book Cosmic View by Kees Boeke 1957, Charles and Ray Eames’s Powers of Ten 1977 is one of the most influential short science films ever made. The short, designed to illustrate the concept of the number ten multiplied by itself, combines photography and animation into a continuous vertiginous zoom-out, from a couple picnicing in a park in Chicago, to the very limits of the known universe – before plunging back to Earth and into sub-atomic space.
Screening: June 14, COFA, UNSW

Spiral Jetty
Dir. Robert Smithson, 1970, France. 105 mins.

The American artist Robert Smithson [1938-1973] had a well-documented interest in science fiction, drawing inspiration from the work of novelist J.G. Ballard as well as the popular counter cultural SF icons of the 1960s such as the flying saucer. Spiral Jetty (Film) 1970 is a compelling mix of original and appropriated SF texts, swooping aerial photography and the artist’s own fragmented narration.
Screening: June 14, COFA, UNSW

Dir. Christian Volckman, 2006, France. 105 mins.

Christian Volckman’s Renaissance: Paris 2054 is an intriguing mix of ideas as it plot riffs on the detective genre, and contains a number of now classic cyberpunk themes such as its eye-popping future-city setting, mega corporations and high level governmental intrigue. Produced in France but presented in English featuring the voices of Daniel Craig, Ian Holm and Jonathan Pryce, Renaissance is stark and at times demanding, but the film stands as a memorable curiosity in recent SF cinema.
Screening: June 21, Art Gallery of NSW

Starship Troopers
Dir: Paul Verhoeven, 1997, USA. 129 mins.

Loosely based on Robert A. Heinlein’s 1956 novel, Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers 1997 is one of the most subversive mainstream SF films ever made, a broad satire on the clichés of World War 2 recruitment and battlefield action films. Verhoeven’s movie draws on the iconography of fascism for its visual stylings, and while its razor sharp satire of mainstream media eerily predates the era of Fox News, the film offers a chillingly accurate depiction of the pro-war propaganda of the past decade.
Screening: June 28, Art Gallery of NSW

Never Let Me Go
Dir. Mark Romanek, 2010, UK. 103 mins.

Never Let Me Go presents the viewer with a world where medical breakthroughs have led to the eradication of cancer, motor neuron disease and other medical conditions while greatly extending life spans. The film follows Kathy H, Tommy and Ruth, three young people raised to ultimately die in a system of enforced organ donation, while their search for a “deferral” – a three year reprieve from their ultimate deaths – offers a faint ray of hope
Screening: July 5, Art Gallery of NSW

Where: The Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of New South Wales and COFA, UNSW
When: May, June, July