ABOUT TIME: A VOYAGE THROUGH TIME TRAVEL CINEMA | Offscreen
Messages from the future, precognition, the Butterfly Effect, the Grandfather Paradox, time loops, multiverses, wormholes... There seems no end to the variations on the time travelling theme. Yet filmmakers were slow to recognise its dramatic potential. Despite several screen versions of Mark Twain’s novel "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court" (1889) and H.G. Well's novella "The Time Machine" (1895), and time travel being adopted as a recurring device in 60s TV shows such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Star Trek", it remained a marginal phenomenon on the big screen, chiefly confined to experimental or arthouse films ("La Jetée", "Je t'aime, je t'aime", "Idaho Transfer"). But the floodgates finally opened in the 80s blockbuster era with "The Terminator" (1984) and "Back to the Future" (1985), mainstream entertainment that hit the sweet spot between science and fiction. Henceforth, time travel, bolstered by increasingly sophisticated special effects, would be a familiar element in Hollywood's SF arsenal. Offscreen serves up not just crowd-pleasers such as "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure", "Looper" and "Interstellar", but some of the lesser known and alternative examples of the genre, from rip-roaring B-movies such as "Trancers" (1984) to brain-scrambling cult favorites such as "Timecrimes" (2007) and "Triangle" (2009).
The Spierig Brothers ("Daybreakers") tackle Robert A. Heinlein’s story "All You Zombies", with results that will make your head explode. The ultimate time travelling paradox is brought to life thanks to great performances from Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook, currently killing it in HBO’s "Succession".
This movie will be introduced by American cult film specialist Mike Hunchback.
Kris Kristofferson plays a plane crash investigator perplexed by weird anomalies in the deaths of hundreds of airline passengers. Could it have something to do with Cheryl Ladd as a chainsmoking punk-haired chick from the future? Timequakes galore in this daft but diverting adaptation of John Varley’s novel.
The modern aircraft carrier USS Nimitz is sucked through a time tunnel to December 1941, just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Should Captain Kirk Douglas warn the US forces and use his superior weapons against the enemy fleet? Or will that trigger a temporal paradox?
A suicidal man agrees to take part in a time travel experiment, only for a technical glitch to leave him ping-ponging hopelessly around in his own memories. Alain Resnais’ SF conundrum, filmed in Belgium, is as haunting and enigmatic as you’d expect from the director from "Last Year at Marienbad".
After an ecological catastrophe, youngsters are sent via a time machine into the future to rebuild civilisation in this prescient SF fable with a hippy-ish vibe and a devastating ending. Fonda’s second film as director, shot in spectacular volcanic landscapes, is a genuine rarity, not to be missed!
This international conference will addresses cinema’s relationship to time travel, the feasability of the science depicted on screen, and the narrative deployment of relativity, causality, paradoxes, loops and wormholes. Also on the menu are the short films "The Late Philip J. Fry" and "La jetée".
In "All Our Yesterdays", Captain Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy find themselves in a library full of portals to a doomed planet’s past, and in "The City on the Edge of Forever," (officially scripted by Harlan Ellison but rewritten by Gene Roddenberry, and often cited as one of the best "Star Trek" episodes of all time), Kirk and Spock travel back to Depression-era New York City, with heartbreaking results.
Bruce Willis plays a psychiatric patient who claims he has been sent back from the year 2035 to save mankind from being wiped out by a virus. Terry Gilliam’s ambitious epic stirs "La Jetée" and "Vertigo" into an intoxicating brew of time travel, romance, red herrings and derring-do.
Marty has to travel even further back in time – to the Old West of 1885, where he has to channel his inner Clint Eastwood to save Doc from being shot dead by an ancestor of the tyrannical Biff. And how can they get the DeLorean back to the future when gasoline has yet to be invented?
Will Rogers, famously from Oklahoma rather than Connecticut, plays a radio repairman who gets a bump on the head, propelling him back through time to the court of King Arthur, where he uses his knowledge of modern technology to convince everyone he is a magician. This Pre-Code adaptation of Mark Twain’s novel also features Myrna Loy as evil Morgana Le Fay.
"Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" Classic SF adaptation of Pierre Boulle’s novel, starring Charlton Heston as an American space pilot whose ship crashlands on a strange planet, where he learns there’s no such thing as human rights in a world ruled by talking simians.
Yor, a prehistoric warrior with shaggy blond hair, tackles zombies, dinosaurs and sexy cave dwellers before discovering the shattering truth about himself and his world. This rip-off of cult pics like "Conan the Barbarian” is such a hoot it ended up becoming a cult favourite itself.
See The Muscles from Brussels doing the splits on his kitchen worktop! Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a cop whose job is to travel back through time to arrest any time-travellers who try to alter history. But can he stop an evil Senator from tampering with the past to make himself President in the present?
An impoverished painter’s encounters with an ethereal young girl in Central Park inspire his art, but their relationship takes on tragic dimensions as he discovers they are separated by time. Dieterle’s haunting romance was shot in black and white, but bursts into colour at the end.