Future Shock on 16mm!
post-screening Q&A with Raul Benitez & Harrison Sherrod
Wednesday, August 15th | 8pm
Comfort Station, 2579 N Milwaukee Ave
STRANGE DAYS and Comfort Station join forces to present a very special screening of Alex Grasshoff’s 1973 cult documentary, Future Shock, featuring a 16mm print courtesy of Chicago Film Archives. Based on futurist Alvin Toffler’s 1970 bestselling book of the same name, the film is a sociological study of a civilization increasingly afflicted by disorientation and estrangement due to the onslaught of technological advancements and the accelerated upheaval of everyday life. Our guide to this alien landscape is none other than Orson Welles, who warns us, “We live in an age of anxiety, a time of stress, and with all of our sophistication, we are in fact the victims of our own technological strength. We are the victims of shock, of future shock.” Despite it’s retro-kitsch sensibility, the film is remarkably prophetic in its prediction of everything from the deleterious effects of the information age and rampant consumerism, to ahistoricity and the disintegration of the nuclear family. Indeed, the questions posed in Future Shock laid the groundwork for subsequent sci-fi classics like Gattaca, The Terminator, They Live, and others. Part dystopian omen, part educational film, Future Shock is a disquieting, technophobic vision that’s even more relevant today than it was nearly fifty years ago, and its images of urban riots, A.I. automatons, and genetic engineering look uncannily familiar. The future, however, won’t be all bad—the film also examines the rise of gay rights, the women’s liberation movement, and polyamory. Post-screening Q&A with Comfort Station film programmer Raul Benitez and STRANGE DAYS founder Harrison Sherrod on the film’s history and legacy.