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Film still THX 1138

More than science fiction: society's deepest fears in film

Jochen Kürten eg
February 17, 2017

The Retrospective section of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival is dedicated to one of the most visually stunning genres: science fiction, with films showcasing imaginary worlds in an imperfect future.


"For a storyteller, a perfect future is the most boring thing one could imagine," says Reiner Rother, director of the Berliner Kinemathek. That's why the films shown at the Berlinale retrospective portray dark visions of the future.

Inspired by threats of destruction and catastrophes as well as by social misconceptions, science fiction is a film genre that's not only for dreamers and people who refuse to grow up, believes Rother. Through these utopian and dystopian stories, the best science fiction films also reveal a given society's visions and fears. 

The current wave of nationalism and populism put George Orwell's novel "1984" back on bestseller lists; Michael Anderson's 1956 movie adaptation is being shown at the Berlinale retrospective.

Showing 27 works of science fiction, the Retrospective combines classics with obscure films from all over the world. Click through the gallery above to find out more about the films in the program.

Complementing the Retrospective until April 23 is "Things to Come. Science. Fiction. Film," an exhibition at the Deutsche Kinemathek. The Museum of Modern Art in New York, a partner of the Berlinale Retrospective since 2011, will also will present a related and extended exhibition of science fiction films in the summer of 2017.