World on a Wire (Phantom Plane Public Screening)

Phantom Plane: Cyberpunk in the Year of Future Public Screening

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Director: R.W. Fassbinder

1973| Germany|212 min|Colour|DCP|In German with Chinese and English Subtitles

To complement the new Tai Kwun Contemporary exhibition Phantom Plane: Cyberpunk in the Year of the Future, the institute will present a series of Cyberpunk film classics, including Akira, Blade Runner, Tetsuo: The Iron Man and more. The audience is invited to experience the charm and astonishing imagination of these foundational Cyberpunk works.

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World on a Wire is the very first film that explores the theme of virtual reality and in turn questions the authenticity of the digital world and real world simultaneously. Set in the near future of an uncertain year, the film tells the story of a hyper-intelligent computer which, through a simulation program, can predict the outlook of social, economic and political situations. The supervisor of this project is found dead mysteriously one day, and his successor, trying to solve this mystery, eventually has an industrial accident, and faces an unwarranted charge and becomes wanted by the authority. The true answer of this whole mystery points to the brutal fact that our real world may very well be a computer simulation.
A pioneering work by the core member of the German New Cinema Rainer Werner Fassbinder, World on a Wire, with the aid of mirroring images and ominous computer sound effects, probes people’s disconcerted hearts and minds in the age of hyper-technology. This two-part TV mini-series was out of circulation for years after its initial broadcast in 1973; in 2009, the Fassbinder Foundation restored the work and has brought it back to the big screen for an entirely new generation of audience.