Tomorrowland – The shape of the future / No.88 / October, 2015

Art Yourself Gallery – October 2015 “TOMORROWLAND”

Dreaded and dreamt of, much awaited at times and always ineluctable, the future, in all of its possible incarnations, has always represented a constant source of inspiration for filmmakers. Time and again, dystopian societies, ultramodern buildings and state-of-the art technological gadgets have accompanied musings on the human condition and the potential developments of science, knowledge and interpersonal relationships. However, in the words of The Kills, “ the future starts slow”, and it is always interesting to see the way in which contemporary zeitgeist influences our visions of tomorrow.

Without paying much attention to chronology, we begin our time travel with Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days, which again paints a bleak picture of a possible future. A thriller sci-fi set during the last days of 1999, its protagonist attempts to solve a murder case through snuff movies that allow viewers to fully access the sensorial stimuli experienced by the victims.

We continue with Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, a dark and grotesque work of science fiction that portrays an ultra-bureaucratic, Orwellian society. Sam Lowry, its protagonist, can only find an escape in dreams – and that may place him into further danger.

The third week marks a decided change of tone and genre, with Alain Resnais’ play on truth and memory in Last Year in Marienbad. He says they met before, she claims not to remember. He recalls her promise to meet and run away together, she accuses him of lying. Have they really met in the past? And – most importantly – will they be together in the future?

We conclude on a similar note with Wong Kar Wai’s 2046. A follow-up to In The Mood For Love, it disrupts conventional timeframes to focus on Chow Mo-wan, an author of science fiction short stories. Taking inspiration for his writing from the occupiers of the room opposite his own, 2046, Chow also reflects on the nature of his relationships with various women. As such, the film muses on love and partnerships, where unattainable, haunting lost loves from the past exist beside the unrequited, the platonic and the potential present and future ones.

Text and programming

Chiara Puntil & Raluca Petre MA Film Studies, King’s College London