From its beginnings cinema has engaged with and taken inspiration from scientific discoveries and new technologies; the films in Dark Skies: A Festival of Science Fact and Fiction have been chosen for their willingness to incorporate plausible scientific methods and practices into their fictional scenarios.
The imaginative leaps taken by the creators of these fantastical cinematic visions are underpinned by real-world scientific explorations – the exacting lab work of The Andromeda Strain, with its steady accretion of increasingly alarming data; the hard science approach Primer takes to the concept of time travel, and the representation of actual achievements in space exploration in The Right Stuff, Philip Kaufman’s epic salute to the first astronauts (showing in 70mm) and The Farthest, Emer Reynolds’ magnificent documentary account of NASA’s Voyager space programme, a truly complimentary pairing.
The festival represents a development of the programming concept that informed Futures Past, presented at IFI in April 2016 in collaboration with Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin which explored how the cinema of the past has imagined our future. Dark Skies hopes to indulge in both the pure enjoyment of speculative science fiction cinema and investigate the more grounded work of filmmakers representing advances in the sciences.
Intro and notes by David O Mahony
This event is presented in collaboration with Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin.
On the occasion of the re-release of Mike Nichols’s The Graduate (back from June 23rd), the IFI takes the opportunity to celebrate the work of Dustin Hoffman, who turns 80 later this year. A native of Los Angeles, Hoffman took to acting while in college, moving to New York to pursue his career, where he formed enduring friendships with fellow aspirants Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall.
Following his film debut, a brief appearance in Arthur Hiller’s The Tiger Makes Out (1967), his next role was in The Graduate, for which he gained the first of seven Oscar nominations, and in which he redefined Hollywood’s expectations of the traditional leading man. This led to his most fertile period, the 1970s, when he appeared in a number of contemporary American classics, displaying a remarkable range and versatility as an actor.
The 1980s saw Hoffman becoming more selective in his choices, which ranged from a notorious box office flop, Elaine May’s underrated Ishtar (1987), to the Oscar-winning Rain Man (1988). His career since has been similarly unpredictable, but Dustin Hoffman remains an eminently watchable and incredibly talented artist, one of the finest American actors to have appeared on the big screen.
Introduction and notes on individual films by Kevin Coyne.
The IFI is supported by The Arts Council