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Arnolfini - est 1961

An afternoon of back-to-back B movie and arthouse classics celebrating the role of the mind in SciFi.

Neural Geometry was JG Ballard’s term for a new approach to science fiction that would move away from tales of outer space to explore the “inner” landscapes of consciousness. In this spirit, this afternoon of back-to-back B movie and arthouse classics delves into the psychic landscapes of science fiction. Here, science fictional scenarios become portals for exploring the deepest zones of the mind.

12pm Altered States (18)

Ken Russell directs this explosive production, adapted by Paddy Chayevsky from his own novel (although he later insisted on a pseudonym in the credits). The novel was inspired by the experiments of Dr. John Lilly, the man who placed his human subjects in total immersion tanks floating them in total darkness so that their minds, cut off from all external reality, could play along the frontiers of sanity. In Altered States, William Hurt plays Harvard scientist Eddie Jessup who takes such an experiment one step further, by ingesting a drug made from the sacred hallucinatory mushrooms of a primitive tribe. Cosmic tripping and genetic recession result in a feast of hallucinatory visual effects.

Dir. Ken Russell, USA, 1980, 104 mins, 35mm

2pm Je t’aime, je t’aime (A)

A suicidal publishing executive is chosen for a dangerous time travel experiment. When it malfunctions, he is thrown into a fragmentary revisiting of his past life. As it slowly pieces together the amorous reasons for his despair, Je t’aime, je t’aime, explores Resnais’s recurring themes of time and memory within a complex and rewarding science-fictional framework. This is one of Resnais’s very best films, a masterpiece of cinematic editing, and surprisingly humorous.

Dir. Alain Resnais, France, 1968, 91 mins, Subtitled, 35mm

4pm Stalker (PG)

A guide leads two characters, ‘Writer’ and ‘Professor’, into a forbidden area called the Zone, at the heart of which is the Room, where they believe that their deepest wish will come true. Tarkovsky’s majestic and mysterious work is hailed as one of the greatest films of all time.

Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR, 1979, 161 mins, Subtitled, 35mm

This is event is part of the Neural Geometry Weekend. 

Further reading:

Notes From Nowhere: Comments On Work In Progress, J. G. Ballard, New Worlds, October, 1966 


Supported by Film Hub South West & West Midlands  

Supported by the National Lottery through the British Film Institute

BFI ­ proud to be supporting film across the UK

Presented by Arnolfini and Watershed as part of the BFI’s Sci Fi: Days of Fear and Wondera dazzling array of Sci-Fi film and TV classics, special events and out of this world experiences, running throughout autumn 2014. #BFISciFi

B W stamp no BFI  232BLACK(1)