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Followed by a recorded Q&A with filmmaker Rodney Ascher, moderated by film critic Joshua Rothkopf
Rodney Ascher (ROOM 237) returns with this fascinating and visually stimulating documentary examining simulation theory — the idea that this world we live in might not be entirely real. Simulation theory is as old as Plato’s Republic and as current as Elon Musk’s Twitter feed. A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX traces the idea’s genesis over the years, from philosophical engagements by the ancient Greeks to modern explorations by Philip K. Dick, the Wachowskis, and leading scholars, game theorists and enthusiasts. Ascher deftly parallels conversations with people who believe we’re living in a computer with the purely digital nature of the film itself — all interviews were conducted via Skype, all reenactments were digitally animated, and archives are largely drawn from ’90s-era cyber thrillers and video games. (Synopsis from the 2021 Sundance Film Festival)
“...Deliriously alive and expansive as well as riveting…. It builds — amid its crowded latticework of potentially mind-melting theories — toward the kind of emotional conclusion one would not expect from a movie so immersed in abstract thought.” —Bilge Ebiri, Vulture “A messy, mind-blowing collision of philosophy, technology, religion and fruit-loop paranoia…. A fascinating, and in one case deeply disturbing, insight into the thought processes of those who believe it.” —Wendy Ide, Guardian “Plunges into the unexpected avenue where human psychology and pop culture cross wires…. An engrossing feature that looks and feels unlike anything else out there in any genre or style in filmmaking.” —Alexander Miller, Film Inquiry