Blu-Ray Review: World on a Wire

The simulation hypothesis proposes that you and I are living inside a simulation. In fact, we all are; wherever you may live in the world. This is an artificial world, most likely computer generated, run by beings with much higher intelligence than us. It is a theory which has helped fashion countless science fiction books, TV shows and films. One which the great Rainer Werner Fassbinder chose to adopt for a two-part mini-series, World on a Wire.

The Institut für Kybernetik und Zukunftsforschung (IKZ) houses a supercomputer which hosts a simulation boasting an artificial world of almost 10,000 units who live as human beings. Unaware that they are in fact computer-generated. Professor Vollmer (Adrian Hoven), the technical director at the institute, is on the verge of a huge scientific breakthrough before dying in mysterious circumstances. When a security advisor disappears in front of his eyes, his successor Dr. Fred Stiller (Klaus Löwitsch) starts to wonder if there’s something suspicious going on.

World on a Wire is a strange and enigmatic science-fiction mystery which feels like a mix of Godard’s Alphaville and a ‘70s Italian crime drama. At times it’s a struggle to keep up with the story but that’s half the joy. It’s so beautifully shot. Almost every scene feels like a work of art. Based on Daniel F. Galouye’s novel Simulacron-3, World on a Wire was originally shot in 16mm for German TV. It feels like a conundrum ripe for revisiting.

Special features:

  • No Strings Attached – an interview with assistant director Renate Leiffer
  • Observing Fassbinder a tribute to photographer Peter Gauhe
  • Looking Ahead to Today documentary
  • On-set featurette
  • Original Broadcast Recap
  • The Simulation Argument an interview with Professor Nick Bostrom
  • Optional English subtitles

Limited edition contents:

  • Rigid slipcase packaging
  • 50 page perfect-bound booklet featuring new essays by Anton Bitel and Daniel Bird and archival writing by Daniel Oberhaus and Christian Braad Thomsen

World on a Wire is released on Blu-ray by Second Sight on 18 February.

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