World on a Wire (Criterion Collection)
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Fassbinder's "World on a Wire": Looking Ahead to Today, a 50-minute 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 ›
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.
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.
A common practice at the time for German filmmakers was to have a theatrical production which was then shown on television at a later time. But for Fassbinder, he created several films for television due to him wanting his work to gain popularity in Germany and the fact that there were not as many places to view cinema in Germany at that time.
The film was broken down to two parts and was an adaptation of Daniel F. Galouye's novel "Simulacron-3'.
"World on a Wire" featured a screenplay adaptation co-written by Fritz Muller-Scherz ("Fiorile", "Belle's Paradise"), cinematography by Michael Ballhaus ("The Departed", "Goodfellas", "Gangs of New York", "Dracula") and Ulrich Prinz ("Martha", "Fear of Fear") and music by Gottfried Hunsberg ("La Paloma", "Shadow of Angels").
The film would star Klaus Lowitsch ("The Marriage of Maria Braun", "Cross of Iron", "Das Urteil") as the main protagonist, Fred Stiller. The film would star actress Barbara Valentin ("Ali: Fear Eats the Soul", "Martha"), Karl Heinz Vosgerau ("The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum", "Knife in the Back"), Wolfgang Schenk ("Martha", "Effi Briest") and Gunter Lamprecht ("Berlin Alexanderplatz", "The Harmonists", "Das Boot", "The Marriage of Maria Braun").Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Intense movie but all I can think of is that the director must (kinda, sorta) love Andy Warhol on some level. Read morePublished 9 days ago by ayre1
World on a wire was the only Fassbinder's project of the genre. Once you watch it you'll see why Matrix was simply an homage even conceptually less dense. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela
A dystopic science-fiction epic, World on a Wire is German wunderkind Rainer Werner Fassbinder's gloriously cracked, boundlessly inventive take on future... Read more
"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 18 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 on June 29, 2014 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