ACMI and the Goethe-Institut present
World on a Wire
Welt am Draht
The digital restoration of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's dystopian epic presents a visually and ideologically striking view of technologies past, present and future.
One of the cinematic (re)discoveries of the year.
After the mysterious death of the Technical Director of an even more mysterious computer simulation experience in development, Fred Stiller (Klaus Löwitsch) steps into the newly vacant role. Almost immediately, he’s plunged into a surreal world where colleagues disappear without a trace, A.I. has agency and the line between reality and fantasy is dangerously blurred.
Originally screened on West German television as a 2-part miniseries, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s sci-fi epic is a work ripe for rediscovery. On one hand, World on a Wire is an anomaly in Fassbinder's oeuvre, marking the only time he directed science-fiction. On the other hand, he frequently worked in television, almost as much as for the cinematic career he is renowned for.
At a time when computers were super- and virtual reality was in its infancy as "experience theatre", Daniel F. Galouye’s 1964 sci-fi novel and Fassbinder’s subsequent mini-series offer a strikingly accurate view of technology and our related anxieties well ahead of their time. More recently adapted to screen in the tech-noir film The Thirteenth Floor (1999), Fassbinder's stunning visual interpretation sees digital give way to analog. His surreal dreamscapes are much more decadently staged with his signature stylistic excesses, perhaps befitting our everyday pursuit of leisure without fear (or with indifferent fear) of the ethical and philosophical fallout.
- Reece Goodwin, Curator (TV & Special Events)
This special screening is presented with the Goethe-Institut as part of their event series Creating in the Age of A.I. The session will be introduced by Dr Claudia Sandberg from Melbourne University.
Sat 20 Mar 2021
Viewers under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.