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"Automatons is what happens when Eraserhead and Tetsuo the Iron Man bong themselves into oblivion and collaborate on a minimalist avant-garde sci-fi cheapie shot in a toolshed" (Nathan Lee, Village Voice). In a post-apocalyptic future, a lone girl (Christine Spencer) tends to a decaying band of robot soldiers fighting in a generations-old war sparked by humans over conflicting ideologies. As the Enemy Leader (Brenda Cooney) beams destructive video signals into her compound, the Girl tries to discern the origins of the war by watching a video diary left by the Scientist, played by Angus Scrimm (Phantasm). By filming in "Robo-Monstervision"--a black-and-white, 8-millimeter ode to '60s sci-fi--this ingenious allegory about the War on Terror becomes strangely familiar.

James Felix McKenney---USA---2006---83 mins.
A unique and provocative interpretation of sci-fi, Alexander Kluge's Der Grosse Verhau "suggests Georges Melies, with the limited equipment of his day, remaking 2001" (The New York Times). In the year 2034, the Kruger star system is dominated by a powerful corporate giant called the Suez Canal Company. Large sections of the galaxy have been portioned off to corporations, which exploit raw materials and push out smaller businesses that cannot obtain operator's licenses. In this tightly controlled arena, salvagers Vincenze and Maria Starr, space pilot Douglas, and entrepreneur Furst eke out a living as rebels or pirates (depending on your view of Marx). Winner of an Interfilm Award at the Berlin Film Festival. In German with English subtitles.

Alexander Kluge---West Germany---1971---86 mins.
After The Big Mess, Alexander Kluge returned to the conventions of science fiction for this assault on the German establishment. During the Galactic Citizen's War, Willi Tobler, played by actor and intellectual Alfred Edel, decides to rid himself of material possessions after his sector is bombarded. He not only leaves behind his belongings, but also his wife and child as he volunteers to be the public relations man for the Chief Admiral of the 6th Fleet. However, his new life does not give him the security he seeks. Willi Tobler is an interesting genre experiment, combining Kluge's dependence on improvisation with an intentionally low-budget look and offbeat intertitles, which evoke the hand-crafted effects of Georges Melies. In German with English subtitles.

Alexander Kluge---West Germany---1972---78 mins.