Sci-fi Screenings at FACT

FACT and The Arts Catalyst invite you on a journey Sci-fi fans won’t want to miss.

The programming of films to compliment the current Arts Catalyst and FACT exhibition, Republic of The Moon, must have been a joy. Here at The Double Negative, we can only get giddy at such a prospect. For starters, you essentially get to make a long list of your fave Sci-fi (that’s a lengthy list if you’re anything like us), in so doing reminiscing about and probably watching a few choice picks. Then whittle the list down to something that works in the context of the exhibition, or maybe it doesn’t. In fact, what you’re left with are perhaps those dearest to your heart, and I think this is what happened here.

It all kicks off this Tuesday with the incomparable 2001: A Space Odyssey. There could’ve been no better place to start than with Stanley Kubrick’s love letter to losing your mind in outer space and discovering the key to humanity! On originally watching this movie, it was the first time in my life I realised film could transcend the medium and be purely about art, while retaining the ability to hold attention and entertain for the duration. It’s no less than a masterpiece. But you knew that.

Following is Close Encounters of the Third Kind, starring Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary, a man for all the world looking like he’s heading for a mental breakdown. The cause is his encounter with a UFO, an event altering his and the lives of those around him irrevocably. A labour of love for its writer and director Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters has always been lost on this writer, but retains a following sure to enjoy the opportunity to see it once again on the big screen.

Next up is more oddity than odyssey. Forbidden Planet stars Leslie Nielsen (THAT Leslie Nielsen) in an early ‘serious’ role. The first sci-fi movie to be set entirely on a planet other than the Earth, it’s also notable in that its characters and setting loosely resemble Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Generally considered to be one of the great genre films of its era, it set a significant marker for those that followed.

The final film in the series is Pixar’s Wall-E. By now, most people going to a typical Pixar picture know better than to write them off simply as kids flicks, but Wall-E takes this maxim and runs with it. Ostensibly a cute story about the travails of a clean-up droid, the film manages to be love story, thriller and Sci-fi all in one, while encapsulating a message about the dangers of sluggishness of humankind. That’s not to say it’s preachy, far from it. What it is, is heartfelt, honest and more than a bit of a cautionary tale.

Given the curation brief of this series, it contains just one of the films I would have automatically and innately wanted to be included, in 2001. I would certainly have scheduled Duncan Jones’ debut feature, Moon and Tarkovsky’s Solaris. Another special screening of Scorsese’s Hugo wouldn’t have gone amiss, either. As it is, FACT have plumped for more of a mixed bag, amounting to a fun sift through Sci-fi over the years.

Click here for times and ticket prices

Posted on 09/01/2012 by thedoublenegative