In the not-so-far future the polar ice caps have melted and the resulting rise of the ocean waters has drowned all the coastal cities of the world. Withdrawn to the interior of the continents, the human race keeps advancing, reaching the point of creating realistic robots (called mechas) to serve them. One of the mecha-producing companies builds David, an artificial kid which is the first to have real feelings, especially a never-ending love for his "mother", Monica. Monica is the woman who adopted him as a substitute for her real son, who remains in cryo-stasis, stricken by an incurable disease. David is living happily with Monica and her husband, but when their real son returns home after a cure is discovered, his life changes dramatically. Written by
Chris Makrozahopoulos <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Kubrick Dialectic, the Spielberg Inheritance, the AI Challenge
The "literalists" are clearly not happy with A.I. So now is a good time to recall that "2001: A Space Odyssey" was greeted upon release with derision, confusion, dismissive reviews, public consternation, and, oh yeah, some thought it was an absolute masterpiece. Beyond the monolithic influence of that film (think of Han Solo's jump to lightspeed, etc.), the symbols of "2001" -- TO THIS VERY DAY -- cannot be decoded using anything but the most personal, interpretive language. The obelisks, the message of the obelisks, the Star Child, Cosmonaut Dave's "room", HAL-9000's true motivation all these things remain in our collective subconscious as indelible images that refuse to be concretely defined between or among viewers. WHAT CAUSES THIS CONFLICT OF PERCEPTION? IS IT INTENTIONAL? Again and again, Kubrick's films take us to a No-Man's Land of narrative and moral ambiguity, stranding us, forcing us to make decisions, demanding interpretation (or we can judge the surface, walk away, hate the film). To my perception, Kubrick is the only, true "Brechtian" film director. The device Brecht proposed is "Alienation Effect", or put simply, Leading the audience down two, divergent paths at once. My favorite example is "Barry Lyndon". Being the adventures of a young man, handsome, virtuous, well-meaning, ambitious, full of promise. Yet in every scene, the camera "pulls-back" revealing Barry (but never to himself) to be womanizing, self-absorbed, criminally inclined, socially inept, not very bright, morally bankrupt, and at last, a broken shell of a man. Or let's consider "Strangelove": Did Kubrick really create a headbanger, slapstick comedy about nuclear proliferation, mass destruction, and military/political incompetence? The real question is "Who else could have?" Well, that's my take on Kubrick's artistic sensibility, and, without daring to presume Spielberg's motivation, it's what drew them both to "A.I." Pinocchio, the Blue Fairy, cuddly Teddy Bears on one hand, but on the other hand social institutions are faltering forever -- parenthood, childhood, science, industry, sexuality -- all distorted beyond repair. And Humans, the ultimate A.I. protagonist, seem blissed-out, in denial, more interested in creating "Davids", "Darlenes" and "Gigolo Joes" than in rising water levels and the imminent threat of extinction. Therefore, I believe A.I. is getting precisely the response all Kubrick films "INITIALLY" get. Spielberg's reputation and career can withstand anything that public perception might bring to his films, but I keep thinking that A.I. is the riskiest moment of his artistic life.
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