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World on a Wire (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Fassbinder's "World on a Wire": Looking Ahead to Today, a 50-min documentary
New interview with German-film scholar Gerd Gemunden
New English subtitles
Trailer for the 2010 theatrical release
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Ed Halter
Top Customer Reviews
Basically, it is a TV movie based on the early 1960s sci-fi short story by Daniel Galouye. It's about an engineer who is caught not only in an ethical dilemma on how his machine that mimics reality should be used (for the good of people or for corporate greed), but he debates whether he is in a fabricated reality or a real one. It is more, but I'm not going to ruin it.
The movie itself is an excellent adaptation of the novel MINUS the CGI effects (no flying cars, no futuristic city, no public-opinion polsters). It is made in similar style to Truffaut's "Fahrenheit 451," Godard's "Alphaville," and Barzyk's "The Lathe of Heaven" (or even, dare I say, "A Clockwork Orange"). Many sci-fi fanatics may find this problematic, but I love these movies because it makes them more "down to earth" and more human (for lack of a better word) and less "contrived" and/or reliant on special effects to tell the story.
The Criterion version has restored Fassbinder's movie, with not only an outstanding digital transfer, but "New English subtitles" (as stated on the back). I have only seen 1 scene in my life, and it was from a horrible copy! Fassbinder may not be a name associated with sci-fi, but the movie has all of his traits found in other movies he directed: muscular men of different races, overly made-up women with large, blond hair, and give-and-take dialogue. There's even a "Lili Marleen" bit! Equally masterful is his constant use of mirrors (or any reflective surfaces, such as water) and windows. It's fascinating to watch!Read more ›
There are several places in the film where Fassbinder could have imposed his vision and left the viewer in the dust, but he's always careful to continue the story thread, and thus keep viewers in the loop. His world is highly stylized, there are no wasted frames - nearly every camera shot is tinged with erotic undertones or duplicity in the making. Fassbinder's film career was as tinged with notoriety as it was brief - this film is as good an introduction to his work as you will find.
World on a Wire was made in 1972 for German TV. It is made of two parts each one is aboout an hour and half long. The movie has a very distinct visual style and atmosphere; the interior shots, camera angles, the locations, actors are very 1970 German.
I like this movie a lot because of its different style but it is probably not for anyone's taste. Even though the subject matter is sci-fi, there are no spectacular special effects or action scenes which are typical of Hollywood productions. However, I think the movie overall does a pretty good job of creating an eerie atmosphere and paranoid feeling of the world not being real.
I was especially amazed by how some of the scenes and ideas seem to be pre-cursor to the Matrix. For instance, the subjects sit in a chair with wires hooked up to their heads and they get downloaded to the computer world (you may think of that as the matrix) and if they want to exit the computer world, they use a phone booth. Sounds familiar?
I also like the love affair depicted in the movie; in my opinion it works so much better than the affair between Neo and Trinity in the matrix.
I recommend this movie for any sci-fi fan who can appreciate foreign movies with unique styles even if they lack CGI and spectacular special effects.
The abject minimalism of early Fassbinder, Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog may not be for all tastes but it was purposeful not due to lack of effort. Fassbinder in particular generally had screen plays where the overall ideas and themes were more important than the individual characters. World on a Wire wasn't so much a foray into the science fiction genre as an expansion of his themes into the arena. The paranoia and claustrophobia of World on a Wire is true to the original novel but also to the social climate of Germany in the 70's with the ever present reality of the cold war and anarchism (which would be further explored in documentary form in: Germany in Autumn as well as the decadence and excesses of the time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"World on a Wire" is a 1973 two-part film made for German TV by director Rainer Werner Fassbinder concerning the meaning of reality. Read morePublished 11 months ago by M. Smith
Oddly prescient film. Shades of Philip K. Dick, but mostly the nearly paranoid imagination of Fassbinder. Brilliantly made, thoughtfully scored. Read morePublished 19 months ago by halbregg
This movie is awesome. Some scenes feel as though you are watching the actors dance with the camera (particularly in the first part. Read morePublished on December 1, 2013 by Cole
As a film buff, I have had a chance to see a number of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's works. He was clearly a genius and I have enjoyed a majority of the ones I've seen. Read morePublished on April 2, 2013 by P. Black
This is a masterpiece. If you appreciate Fassbinder's films, this is amongst the very best. And it anticipates "The Matrix" by some decades.Published on March 22, 2013 by Jorge E. Secada
It's perhaps best described as a somewhat interesting oddity that has resurfaced and worth watching for fans of the director's work.Published on January 25, 2013 by McEwan
WORLD ON A WIRE has all the trademarks of prime Fassbinder cinema. You have your Michael Ballhause cinematography, all reflections, mirrors, transparencies, and circular tracking. Read morePublished on December 9, 2012 by W.T.Hoffman
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