Phillip’s Reading Response #3: Sci-fi Film Festival

Science fiction is a genre of literature and science fiction that discusses many of the concepts that people could only dream about. They also dive into current technology and the connections between society and science. For the Sci-fi film festival, I looked at the documentary category and compared it to science fiction I’ve read or watched in the past, and differs because this genre of science fiction goes into real-life situations that have similar qualities to a science fiction except that it is based on real events.  The festival had 5 films in the documentary category and each one was very different, but all hovered off the broad science fiction topics. There was one film that was in German with no English subtitles, so it was very difficult to understand.

The first film is called My Brain is Bigger: The Rise and Fall of Elektro the smoking robot. This film was created in Canada and runs for 10 minutes. The film covers the life of a robot created by the appliance brand Westinghouse. He was created as an advertising/marketing tactic for Westinghouse and after word got out, the fame of Elektro skyrocketed. From 1939 till the late ’70s, Elektro was in movies, tv ads, and appeared at malls across the country. He was well known because he was a robot that could walk, talk, and most famously smoke cigarettes. This documentary discusses the life of a robot, which in 1939 seemed nearly impossible to create. It was truly interesting to see how people viewed technology over the decades.

The second film was very different in that it was about a boy and girl who were raised in captivity and only trained by animated videos on a screen. The film was created in Mexico and was known as Capicúa and while only 11 minutes, the film shows how humans can be manipulated from birth to think a certain way. The boy and girl in separate rooms were taught to eat their food with their mouths and to sleep on the bed they were given. Halfway through the film, they put them in the same room at age 7 and they offer one plate of food. The girl immediately hisses and scares the boy and eats the food for herself. After plates and plates of food coming out, it seems like the boy is starting to becoming very very hungry. She then realizes this and shares the food with him. The film ends there, but I think it was a representation of what humans are programmed as well as what humans are able to learn on their own.

The German film was extremely hard to understand because it was in German and there were no English subtitles. The gist of the film is that a woman is lonely and she turns to an AI to help her find love and it just leads to becoming at odds with the AI. This story dives into the powers and dangers of AI and how computer intelligence could be super beneficial, but also super dangerous.

The fourth film named Visitors is an American film that was a documentary about the Americans that drove to Rachel, Nevada to “storm area 51.” This was a Facebook prank that leads to a lot of people driving out to the middle of the desert in the hopes they would find Aliens. The film showed clips of the small town being packed with RV’s and trailers. Aliens being one of the largest topics of science fiction was truly brought into question when this Facebook event was created because a lot of people true believers in aliens, and would go to the ends of the earth to meet them. This film was really interesting because it showed the progression of people coming all the way to people slowly starting to leave when nothing happened.

The final film of the category was Wide-Eyed, which was a very interesting film in that it was short and took a very dark turn quickly. It was called Wide Eyed and it takes place in an apartment where this girl wakes up at someone’s apartment from a one night stand. She makes coffee tries to yell at someone in the bathroom. She then turns on the tv and sees that she’s been missing and people were looking for her. She then realized she was kidnapped. Her fear and adrenaline rise, but then someone slips a death card under the door and she goes into the bathroom and it is hard to tell the end result, but it seems like she is murdered. I enjoyed this film because I went in with this simple mindset, and was taken aback when the story took a super dark turn. Overall the documentary category was much more interesting then I expected.

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