Metrograph presents Artificial Love, an all 35mm showcase of bionically flirtatious sci-fi romps, beginning February 2 at Metrograph In Theater. Almost 40 years after Zapp released their immortal classic “Computer Love” the concept of post-human amour is eerily immanent—so just in time for Valentine’s Day, Metrograph is booting up a series of films about Artificial Intelligence in love.
A Month of Romance With Artificial Love
A vision of a world in which human fallibility has been purged from romance or utopian dreams that silicon chips can share the same electric connection as humans? Artificial Love runs from February 2 to February 18, with select encore screenings to follow. Titles include Electric Dreams, Her, Making Mr. Right, and Wall-E.
A plugged-in love triangle between nebbish architect Lenny Van Dohlen, cellist upstairs neighbor Virginia Madsen, and his insanely jealous, suddenly sentient home computer, “Edgar” (voiced by Bud Cort), who does everything in “his” power to undermine his owner’s romance and make the lady succumb to “his” charms. With a thrumming Giorgio Moroder score and ’80s synth-pop standouts by the likes of Heaven 17 and Culture Club, this kinetic proto-AI comedy courtesy of music video maestro Barron is a slice of 1984 that George Orwell never dreamed of.
Recently divorced sad sack Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), working as a personal letter writer for strangers in a Los Angeles of the not-too-distant future, discovers a new sense of purpose after acquiring an AI virtual assistant who speaks with the voice of Scarlett Johansson, with whom he soon becomes helplessly besotted. An ingenious, wryly witty, and genuinely heartbreaking high concept work, from an original Jonze screenplay, anchored by Phoenix’s graceful, vulnerable performance.
Seidelman followed the breakout performance of Desperately Seeking Susan with this quick-witted, snappy, sui generis sci-fi romcom about a stand-offish scientist (John Malkovich) who creates an android doppelgänger, Ulysses (Malkovich, again), for the purpose of deep space exploration, only to discover with dismay that Ulysses is more interested in exploring humans—including Ann Magnuson, Laurie Metcalf, and Glenne Headly—of the opposite sex.
It’s the year 2805 CE, and on a despoiled Earth that’s been abandoned by humanity, the eponymous waste-collecting robot—the name stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth Class—goes about the lonesome monotony of his daily rounds of tidying the trash heaps, a routine broken when he encounters (and falls for) a search robot named EVE, and discovers the key to rendering the planet inhabitable again. A charming and endlessly inventive odyssey through the cosmos, and a state-of-the-art animation that owes more than a little to the silent comedy.