World on a Wire 3 (Still).jpg
World on a Wire 3 (Still).jpg
World on a Wire (1973), Fassbinder Foundation Foto Peter Gauhe Archiv DFF

ACMI and the Goethe-Institut present

World on a Wire

Welt am Draht

Rainer Werner Fassbinder | West Germany | 1973 | Unclassified (15+)

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Sat 20 Mar 2021


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.

Chuck Stephens (Film Comment)

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.

Format: DCP
Language: German and English with English subtitles
Source: Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation
Courtesy: Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation
Runtime: 214 mins

Event duration

214 mins


Unclassified (15+)

Viewers under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.


1.45pm: Part 1
3.40pm: Interval
4.15pm: Part 2
6.00pm: Event concludes

Tickets include admission to both parts of this series.


Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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