Ben Rivers Selects: Cult and Artists’ Sci-Fi

Ben Rivers is an internationally acclaimed artist film-maker known for works such as TWO YEARS AT SEA and A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS. His films frequently tread a line between documentary and fiction. often following and filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society. Ben himself connects his approach to cinema with a life-long love of Science Fiction, in particular the post-apocalyptic movie and films about the ‘last man on earth’. For CINECITY as part of Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, he has made a personal selection of some of the genre’s key films, which will be touring to venues across the UK in Nov/Dec.


Thurs 4 December Duke of York’s

Dir: Alain Resnais. Wit:h Claude Rich, Olga Georges-Picot, Anouk Ferjac. France 1968. 94mins. French with English subtitles

A rare UK screening of Alain Resnais’ only science fiction film, a poetic exploration of the role of destiny, memory and time. Recovering from an attempted suicide, a man is selected to participate in a time travel experiment that has only been tested on mice. A malfunction in the machine traps him in his past, where he is forced to relive fragmentary pieces of his memories in a random order. From the disorienting imagery, a narrative revolving around a girlfriend whose death he may or may not have caused gradually emerges. Je t’aime Je t’aime explores the instinct of one man to cling to his past even as he watches it dissolve. “ On one level a witty sci-fi adventure, on another a poetic apprehension of man’s helpless entrapment by time, perfectly summed up by the extraordinary last shot.” — Tom Milne, Time Out

SEXMISSION (Seksmisja)

Sat 6 December 11pm Duke of York’s

Dir: Juliusz Machulski. Poland 1984. 117mins. Polish with English subtitles.

A cult Sci-Fi comedy and political satire from Communist-era Poland. Two scientists are chosen as guinea pigs for a time experiment: they are placed in hibernation and should be brought back to life after three years. In the meantime World War III breaks out and when they do wake up, it turns out that 50 years have passed and they are now the only living specimens of the male sex in a new, underground society composed exclusively of women.


Mon 1 December 9pm Dukes at Komedia

Dir: Geoff Murphy. With: Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, Peter Smith. New Zealand 1985. 91mins.

Scientist Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence) wakes up to find himself literally alone in the world. At first he lives out his fantasies, helping himself to cars and clothes but the implications of being the last man on earth and – as one of the scientists involved in a global energy project – partly responsible for the disaster, sends him to the brink of madness. He sets out to track down other survivors. Based on the 1981 Sci-Fi novel by New Zealand writer Craig Harrison, this is a compelling and engrossing drama and up there with the very best Sci-Fi films of the 80s. Screening in a new digital restoration from the New Zealand Film Archive.


Fri 21 November 11.15pm Duke of York’s

Dir: Elio Petri. France/Italy 1965. 92 mins. English language version.

A flamboyant, futuristic fantasy in the 1960s pop-art, sci-fi vein of Barbarella, this late-night cult classic is set in a 21st century where war and aggression have been replaced by a game of legalised murder called ‘The Big Hunt.’ Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress star as computer-selected contestants of this deadly televised spectacle. She is out to make him her tenth victim in the contest, but romance inevitably intervenes. Legendary in part for Andress’s lethal double-barrelled brassiere, this lurid satire lampoons media and advertising, faddish 1960s religions and health trends and the obsession with fame and money.