Artificial reality and dialogue between centuries in one of the most clever experiments in science fiction. Special screening as part of The Sunset Fired a Hundred Suns programme.
1997, Lynn Hershman Leeson
United States – Germany
85 minutes, English with Russian subtitles
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Francesca Faridany, Timothy Leary, Karen Black
In the 19th century, Lord Byron’s daughter Ada Lovelace wrote the first ever algorithm for a computing machine, thus becoming the first programmer in the history of mankind. At the end of the 20th century, developer Emmy Coer is obsessed with the figure of Lovelace and tries to enter into a dialogue with her in virtual reality. Amy’s husband forces her to trade her vocation for motherhood, as Lovelace’s spouse once did. Amy gets pregnant — and Ada materialises in lines of code.
Shot from Conceiving Ada, 1997
A meditation on memory, feminism, immortality and the horizons of virtual reality, it’s got enough ideas and intellectual fodder for a dozen films.
— Edward Guthmann, The San Francisco Chronicle
The ideas behind the film remain truly daring even now, a quarter of a century after its premiere. At the same time, science fiction in the film is not so much a means of predicting the future as of rethinking the past.