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Dir. Marianne Trench, 1990
USA. 60 min.

Itself an artifact of the time and aesthetic being documented, CYBERPUNK is a fun, highly stylized sampler capturing its eponymous subculture still coalescing. Featuring interviews with William Gibson, Timothy Leary, founder of VPL Research/inventor of the Data Glove Jason Lanier, and encompassing musicians, animators, plastic surgeons, crafters, and self-proclaimed hackers, the movie shows and tells simultaneously with talking-head interviews overlaid and interspersed with then-cutting-edge CG animation and graphic effects. Reflecting the range of its subjects motivations, sometimes this is practical, masking coders casually chatting about illegal data access, and sometimes its purely for visual flair.

The documentarys timing places it at a unique juncture  theres talk of phone phreaking, VR potential and research, body modification, warez trading, database hacking, but no concrete mention of the internet as we know and use it today. AOL for DOS was released February 1991, Windows in 1992; CYBERPUNK just missed the radical breakthrough that was readily accessible dial-up, existing in a world where text-based intranets with node points were the closest equivalent. Of all people its a computer theorist outlining the blind spot most clearly; speaking to the (assumed) main fear of technology being how small and powerless it makes the average person feel and citing the military-industrial complex as example, the idea of complete personal connectivity and power doesnt even occur. And yet the possibility is present in the film  one hacker tells how a 14-year-old poking around an AT&T database for kicks had the FBI knocking on his door after hed inadvertently nudged a satellite out of orbit. In a present with unlimited texting on readily available handheld computers, its tempting to giggle at one hacker bragging I make free phone callseverywhere. You name itEurope, Asia..The United States, but hindsights 20/20  CYBERPUNK is a snapshot of those excited for a future they nearly saw coming.


124 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
United States

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Kid Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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