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Silent Running

USA 1972
produced by
Michael Gruskoff for Trumbull/Gruskoff Productions/Universal
directed by Douglas Trumbull
starring Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin, Jesse Vint, Mark Persons, Steven Brown, Cheryl Sparks, Larry Whisenhunt, Joseph Campanella (voice), Roy Engel (voice)
written by Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, Steven Bochco, music by Peter Schickele, songs written by Peter Schickele, Diane Lampert, performed by Joan Baez, special photographic effects by Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra, Richard Yuricich

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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The future: All vegetation has long been extinct on earth and humankind has created a 100% artificial enviroment for itself with strictly regulated weather and temperature and synthetic food. A spaceship called the Valley Forge was sent into space as a sort of Noah's Ark, preserving the last forests and all sorts of plant life in domes - pretty much just in case. But not humankind has found it too unnecessary and expensive to keep nature even in space, and the ships are ordered to blow up their nature domes and return to earth - and crewmen Keenan (Cliff Potts), Barker (Ron Rifkin) and Wolf (Jesse Vint) couldn't be happier to finally return to earth, while fellow crewman Lowell (Bruce Dern), who has been on the Valley Forge for uninterrupted 8 years, feels shattered, as he was the only one really taking care of the plantlife in the domes and has dreamed of one day returning to re-naturize the planet. And when he sees the others happily blowing up one dome after the next, he gets into a fight with Wolf, killing him in the process, then abandons Keenan and Barker in a dome already doomed for destruction. To ground control he reports some unforseen problems with the order to blow up the domes and return, then hides in the rings of Saturn to make it impossible to be hauled back and thus preserve the little nature that's left. With only two small robots, the drones, for company, he experiences peace and fulfillment, even if he can't completely shake the guilt of killing his crewmates - guilt that's also mirrored in his plants starting to wilt (for lack of sunlight, it turns out). And then ground control picks up the Valley Forge's signal again, and they're only too happy to bring Lowell back home - without his last shred of nature - which is really the last thing he wants, but what to do?

 

It's funny that with its enviromentalist message, Silent Running is at the same time very much a child of the hippie era, and a film that feels as topical now, in a world where enviromentalism has inexplicably become a bone of contention, as almost 50 years ago, and frankly, this film dares to be much more of a political allegory than most of today's mainstream science fiction. And besides this contradiction in terms, this film has actually aged remarkably well, thanks to great sets and wonderful effects work, its very intelligent approach to the subject at hand, and its deliberately slow pace that gives the film's underlying ambiguity space to breathe. And the always dependable Bruce Dern sure gives a great performance in this one. And all of this makes Silent Running a film that deserves to be called a classic.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD