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University of Vermont
Lane Series

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Burlington, VT 05401
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"Things Fall Apart: Dystopian Cinema"

2016 Season

Join fellow film-lovers for screenings, stimulating discussions, and guest speakers throughout the year. With the success of Mad Max: Fury Road, the ongoing popularity of the Hunger Games series, and the art house acclaim of Snowpiercer, the decade has seen a rash of dystopian fantasies that probe contemporary anxieties and imagine possible futures where certain worst-case scenarios come to pass. What would society look like after a nuclear war or an environmental catastrophe? What if technological progress means a fundamental transformation in human relationships? How would governments reorganize and civil society function if everything we know changed overnight? From Metropolis, to Blade Runner, to Brazil, the history of cinema is full of imagined futures that try to answer these questions. This year's UVM film series examines four provocative dystopias that offer us the opportunity to think about gender and sexuality, technology and surveillance, and bureaucracy and individuality, both in their speculative futures and in our contemporary present.

The UVM Film Series is a membership-based program in partnership with UVM's Lane Series, Film and Television Studies, and the Fleming Museum of Art. Memberships are $30 and provide you with admission to all four screenings and pre- and post-film discussions.

Alphaville (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)

Thursday, January 28
Frank Livak Room
Davis Center
6:00pm pre-film lecture/6:30 film screening

One of Godard's great cinematic mash-ups, an ode to film noir that's also a science fiction fantasy, and an exploration of the modernist architecture of Paris that's set in outer space: Alphaville follows hardboiled tough guy Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) as he embarks on a number of missions on an alien planet and battles against the sentient computer controlling a civilization that's at once not of this earth and also eerily familiar.

The Handmaid's Tale (1990, Volker Schlöndorff)

Thursday, February 18
Frank Livak Room
Davis Center

6:00pm pre-film lecture/6:30 film screening
The big-screen adaptation of Margaret Atwood's influential novel, The Handmaid's Tale imagines a democratic society whose response to terrorism is to suspend civil liberties and legislate the official subservience of women. Narrated by Offred, the "handmaid" to a leading government official, The Handmaid's Tale raises tough questions about sexual politics, slavery, and gender relations in a world not that far removed from our own.

The Trial (1962, Orson Welles)

Thursday, March 17
Frank Livak Room
Davis Center
6:00pm pre-film lecture/6:30 film screening

There's a wild, shaggy, feeling to Welles' adaptation of Franz Kafka's great critique of bureaucratic purgatory. Shot on the fly and on the cheap in the rubble-strewn streets and abandoned buildings of post-World War II Europe, The Trial perfectly captures the spirit of a world in limbo. Anthony Perkins takes on the role of Josef K, the young man who's told that he's on trial, but for what and by whom, he's never quite sure. Full of incredible images and offering a great performance by Welles himself, The Trial is perhaps the greatest adaptation of Kafka on screen.

Looper (2012, Rian Johnson)

Thursday, April 14
Frank Livak Room
Davis Center
6:00pm pre-film lecture/6:30 film screening

What would a government do if someone invented time travel? Make it illegal, of course. Toward the end of the 21st century, the mob makes use of banned time travel technology to take care of problems and dispose of bodies in the past. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays one of the mob's "loopers," a hit-man responsible for executing people when they're sent back in time - until he discovers that one of his victims is his future self (Bruce Willis). With tremendous action sequences and thorny time-travel paradoxes, Looper is both great fun and a thoughtful examination of how time changes identity.

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