World on a Wire

Entering the simulation

World on a Wire (Welt am Draht) is German auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s only stab at sci-fi, an epic 3.5-hour behemoth, originally shown on TV in two parts, and which starts as Fassbinder means it to go on, setting up questions about what we’re seeing in front of us. The opening shot is done on a lens so long it causes an atmospheric shimmer. The picture wobbles just a touch, as if we’re looking through a heat haze. When the people we’re seeing start speaking, their voices have the dead flat ambience of a dubbing studio. So much for atmosphere – we’re disconnected from these people, businessmen out on the street and entering … Read more