GAME ON! | Offscreen
Offscreen travels back to video game prehistory to reexamine flawed early film mutations such as "Super Mario Bros.", "The Last Starfighter" and "Joysticks". But there's also opportunity for reflection ("The King of Kong" documentary), introspection (Cronenberg's "eXistenZ", Mamoru Oshii's "Avalon"), aesthetics ("Tron"), and ethics ("WarGames"). In addition to our ten film screenings, there is room for discussion (with an international conference) and context: Nova is overrun by Space Invaders, Pac-Man takes over the foyer and the Novabar is transformed into a vintage 80s arcade complete with DJ sets and a video combat tournament. Bleep bleep!
Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo play Brooklyn plumbers who have to rescue Princess Daisy from a parallel dimension called Dinohattan, ruled by Dennis Hopper as a T-Rex in human form. Goombas and Bob-ombs galore in a lo-tech live-action version of the Nintendo game, directed by the creators of "Max Headroom".
Soporozoite will heat up the dance floor with her game boys, musique 8-bit Bruxelloise, followed by a couple of DJs, DJ Mélodik Pinpon and DJ Benwa, who will be sure to raise temperature levels with even more 8-bit dance, video game music, basic electro...
Seth Gordon's enthralling documentary charts the rivalry between two Americans competing for recognition as highest scorer in Nintendo's Donkey Kong game. Hard not to side with the underdog, an amiable Seattle schoolteacher, when the reigning champ is a Florida hot sauce tycoon with a Mephistopholian beard.
Game night starts here, with "Relaxer", the ultimate couch potato movie, followed by the mythical short "Kung Fury" (David Sandberg, 2015, 31'), in which a cop returns to the past to kill Hitler, the king of kung-fu. Expect dinosaurs that fire lasers through their eyes, a Barbarella viking, Thor, and many other delights. Meanwhile, the Nova bar will be playing host to a combat videogame tournament, with the final showdown to be shown on the big screen.
The girl sells disposable lighters in this South Korean gamer spin on Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale. Ju, a delivery boy, enters the game and has to save her from gangsters, organ harvesters and a lesbian Lara Croft on a motorbike. But is the girl fated to die anyway, or can Ju change their destinies?
A nerd and a slob team up with the owner of a video arcade to thwart a local businessman's attempt to close the place down. Plenty of historic arcade action in this unabashedly lowbrow entry in the 1980s teen horndog subgenre, featuring vintage Space Invaders, Pac-Man scene wipes, and naked titties galore.
Welcome to The Grid! Disney's pioneering fantasy stars Jeff Bridges as a software engineer who gets digitally downloaded into a virtual reality and has to game his way out again via light-cycle races and illuminated frisbee-tossing. CGI was combined with more traditional animation to make this game-changer.
Mamoru Oshii, of "Ghost in the Shell" fame, made his live action debut with this mindfuck of a movie in which a gameplayer called Ash tries to discover the true purpose of an illegal virtual reality first-person shooter. Filmed in Polish in and around Warsaw; with a sublime score by Oshii regular Kenji Kawai.
The Capcom video game gets a live-action makeover from Takashi Miike in family-friendly mode. Tongue-in-cheek courtroom fun, with wacky cartoon hairstyles, as rookie attorney Phoenix Wright defends a young spirit medium accused of battering her sister to death with a clock shaped like Rodin's The Thinker.
Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a game designer on the run after an assassination attempt in David Cronenberg's playful riff on virtual reality role-playing. Guns fire teeth instead of bullets; consoles plug into bioports at the base of the spine. But is any of this real, or is it just another level of the game?
High-schooler Matthew Broderick uses his PC to boost his grades and impress girls by hacking into websites, but little does he realise "Global Thermonuclear War" is more than just a video game, and that his gleeful decision to nuke Las Vegas will trigger a countdown to Armageddon. An evergreen cautionary tale.