Academy-Award ® winner Tilda Swinton plays four roles in this award-winning Sci-Fi about Rosetta Stone and her three Self-Replicating Automatons, (S.R.A.'s) which she cloned from her own DNA. Though they look human, the S.R.A. cyborgs were bred as intelligent machines and are immortal. In order to survive, they need sustenance of male Y chromosome, found only in sperm. Their task is to harvest sperm in the old fashioned way, which leads to a quest for love.
This film won the Alfred P. Sloan award for writing and directing and features Karen Black, Thomas Jay Ryan and Jeremy Davies. It also is the first feature film shot on 24p Hi-Def with HD graphic conversion.
Catalog Number: MC-1092
Genre: Drama, Sci-fi / Fantasy
Length: 82 minutes
DVD Region: 0
TV System: NTSC
This is a Microcinema Exclusive title.
Program MC-1092 is available for wholesale from Microcinema DVD. Contact info[at]microcinema.com or call at +1-415-447-9750
Program MC-1092 may be licensed for Exhibition.
Films In Compilation
Teknolust directed by
Sci-fi / Fantasy,
TEKNOLUST is described by its Writer/Director/Producer, Lynn Hershman Leeson, as "a coming of age story, not only for the characters but also of our society’s relationship to technology. The 21st centuries technologies – genetics, nanotechnology and robotics have opened Pandora’s box that will affect the destiny of the entire human race. Our relationship to computer based virtual life forms that are autonomous and self replicating will shape the fate of our species."
2010-10-11Buffalo Rising By Mackenzie Lambert
Without a doubt, Tilda Swinton is the most versatile actress in movies today. Comic book fans may remember her as the androgynous Gabriel in Constantine. She was the White Witch in Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. She's also been in Broken Flowers, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Burn After Reading. This past Thursday was the Western New York premiere of Teknolust, a true hidden gem and one of the highlights of the entire BIFF. Not since Splice earlier this year has there been a better science-fiction film released in 2010.
Teknolust concerns the secret experiments of Rosetta Stone (Swinton) and her three "children:" Ruby, Marrine, and Olive (all three played by Swinton as well). The particular children are Self-Replicating Automations (SRAs). In other words, these are cyborgs that can become self-aware and are able to reproduce. Although, when we first meet them, their ability to procreate has been suppressed. Yet, like vampires with blood or diabetics with insulin, they need Y chromosome (in the form of sperm) in order to continue to maintain their vital functions.
Unfortunately, Ruby has engaged in sex in order to supply sperm to her siblings. This causes the men she charms into the said activity to experience a bizarre viral infection of alarming proportions. On the case to investigate the epidemic is Agent Hopper (James Urbaniak of The Venture Bros.) and Dirty Dick (Karen Black). At the same time, Ruby encounters a clerk at a print shop, Sandy (Saving Private Ryan's Jeremy Davies). With Sandy, Ruby begins to experience love and emotions altogether new to her. A quick note for the Hopper character: watch for the magic band-aid that switches locations on his face.
While this clearly qualifies as camp, the acting is enthralling and tongue-in-cheek. Swinton pulls of a Sellers-caliber quadruple performance. The scenes where she acts with her self through the magic of editing is right up there with Peter Jackson in Bad Taste and Dominique Pinon in City of Lost Children. Urbaniak is great in his deadpan performance. Karen Black isn't on-screen for long, yet she makes the most out of it. Davies is able to make his slacker interesting with his eccentric mannerisms.
As with all good sci-fi, the plot of the movie serves as a metaphor to real-life instances and experiences. The instinct-driven revolt of the SRAs can be compared to the results of oppressive parenting. These cyborgs were stated as being intended to do menial work (i.e. window cleaners), a frightening solution to the demand of giving jobs back to Americans from day laborers. Then, there's the message in this film that really first came out with The Terminator: what happens when we let technology get too smart? As stated before, not since Splice has there been as thought-provoking sci-fi film.
Alas, those in attendance at the Screening Room experienced a technical hiccup. The disc skipped just before the credits and went back to the main menu. Thanks to the graciousness of BIFF President Edward Summer, I was able to borrow a copy of the screener. The drive back home couldn't be fast enough. After skipping near the end of the pre-credit chapter, I saw what the other viewers missed out on: the credits continue to show the SRAs adapting to our world.
Even if the great supporting cast wasn't there, Swinton in the role of the four leads made this movie. Her presence adds gravitas to this feminization of the Frankenstein story in a way which is very much relevant, even foreboding. Swinton's ability to muster four very different performances is an accolade few in the industry can boast. This film is another triumph in her astounding career.
2010-10-11Disc Dish By Ed
In the 2002 cerebral sci-fi movie Teknolust, scientist Rosetta Stone (Tilda Swinton of Michael Clayton) has a secret: She has used her DNA to animate a trio of sexy clone automatons (all played by Swinton) who are infecting dozens of men with a virus that renders them impotent and crashes their computers. Rosetta attempts to cover up for her “girls,” but her laboratory soon comes under investigation by a snooping federal agent (James Urbaniak of You Don’t Know Jack).
This kind of brainy, futuristic fiction is always a bit of a hard sell, but it does have its adherents and, contrary to popular belief, a good number of them are women. That said, the luridly titled Teknolust is a sure bet for this admittedly small but devoted audience. Writer/director Lynn Hershman-Leeson (Conceiving Ada) offers an intelligent meditation on the differences between men and women’s perceptions of sex, the uses of scientific research and the Internet.
It’s Swinton, though, who’s the real focus of the independent film, as she portrays the color-coordinated clones as different wish projections of the nerdy Rosetta. Teknolust loses much of its imaginative momentum in its final third, but the science-fiction movie’s most rewarding indulgence is a winningly goofy dance number performed by the trio for the good doctor’s amusement.
Heshman-Leeson’s low-key quirkiness will attract fans of such indie directors as Hal Hartley, whose Henry Fool stars Urbaniak and Ryan are featured prominently in the Teknolust.
2010-09-16blogcritics.org By Jack Goodstein
Lynn Hershman Leeson's quirky 2002 sci-fi spoof, Teknolust, is scheduled for DVD release from Microcinema in October. The film, which met with mixed to poor reviews back in the day—a 28% score on the Rotten Tomatoes meter, has become something of a cult favorite. Its feminist take on such familiar science fiction-horror tropes as the mad scientist, the experiment that gets out of hand, the creature that needs some kind of human substance for continued existence, and the machine that develops human qualities speaks directly to the post modern taste for irony. Vampires, Frankenstein monsters, robots: Teknolust weaves elements of them all into an extravagant send up of the genre.
EssentiallyTeknolust is the story of a frumpy, frustrated female computer scientist who creates a trio of cyborg avatars from her own DNA. The three women need continuing injections of male sperm to stay "alive," so one of the women, symbolically costumed in red and named Ruby, is dispatched into the real world for nightly sperm hunting and gathering. Scenes from classic movies are used to program her with pick up lines and each successful climax is crowned with a cuddle. Things begin to go awry when the cyborgs become dissatisfied with their isolation and begin to exercise minds of their own. When the men who have been seduced by Ruby begin to break out in a strange disease, an investigation turns up some weird results.
If the reception of the movie itself was at first lackluster, the critical reaction to its star, Academy Award winner, Tilda Swinton, who plays all three of the cyborgs as well as their creator, was much better. Her performance was seen by many as an acting tour de force. And clearly, this film is an extraordinary opportunity for a fine actress to show her chops. She gets to play the passionless seductress, the naïf discovering the world of emotions, the repressed introvert, the dissatisfied rebel, the nurturing sister, and probably a few others as well. She is a blond, a redhead, and a brunette. She slinks about in color coordinated costumes, both stylish and sexy, or she wears a curly fright wig and stomps about in a matronly skirt and blouse. It is a role—or rather a set of roles—that any actress would jump at, and Swinton does it full justice.
The rest of the cast includes Jeremy Davies as a bungling nerd with a Jewish mother who makes borscht and looks to find him a girl. He tends to hang his head and shuffle a lot. James Urbaniak plays a stolid low key special agent. Karen Black is relatively wasted as Dirty Dick, a tough talking ex-agent who really doesn't seem to have much reason for being in the film.
Like many satirical pieces, Leeson's script is more often intellectually interesting than it is emotionally satisfying. There is little to empathize with in her characters. On the other hand, there are some really nice comic touches¸ little visual and verbal jokes that complement the film's satirical thrust. The scientist's name is Dr. Rosetta Stone. Ruby tries to pay for purchase with prophylactics. Her sexual conquests seem to have caught a computer virus. Dr. Stone's cyborgs appear in her microwave oven. There is a comic homage to Faye Dunaway in Chinatown. When the cyborgs overhear Stone say that they are meant to do menial work, one insists: "No way, I don't do windows." These are the kinds of moments that give the film a lift. More of them, many more, would be welcome.
The DVD includes a discussion with Leeson and Tilda Swinton from 2009 after a showing at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. There is also a short film of an art installation called DiNA, an artificial intelligence project in which Leeson was involved. A 2005 article by Jori Finkel in The New York Times says that DiNA originated in 2004 as a computer generated face communicated with through the keyboard. It has now evolved to voice recognition, and it is this evolution that is illustrated in the presentation on the DVD. Like Ruby in the film, DiNA uses the face of Tilda Swinton. DiNA, Leeson, told The Times, is smarter than Ruby, but men seem to like Ruby better.
2010-08-06Village Voice By Laura Sinagra
It's a quiet tour de force for Tilda Swinton.
2010-08-06Cinema Blend By Tiffany Sanchez
Contemporary avant-garde cinema was born in the late 1950s and early 1960s when a group of filmmakers---Andy Warhol, John Cassavetes, and Stanley Kubrick---introduced experimental films that not only contained unconventional narratives, innovative camera work, and groundbreaking special effects, but also challenged mainstream culture's prevailing views on politics, sex, and aesthetic values. Today, the movement continues with Teknolust, a brilliant film about a bio-geneticist named Rosetta Stone (Tilda Swinton), who downloads her own DNA to produce three Self Replicating Automatons, also known as SRAs.
Shot entirely on a digital high definition camera by renowned cinematographer, Hiro Narita, Teknolust---directed by San Francisco writer-director, Lynn Hershman Leeson (Conceiving Ada)---successfully examines what would happen if androids actually lived and functioned like real human beings. Generating a high-tech, interactive ode to genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics that's as riveting and revolutionary as the color-coded robots it strives to create.
Bred to run an erotically charged Internet site called Ruby's E-Dream Portal, Ruby, Marine, and Olive (all played by the talented and versatile Tilda Swinton) live and work in Rosetta's microwave oven. The chatty cyber trio love to cuddle, but unlike their human counterparts, don't see physical intimacy as anything more than a way to refuel. Electronically programmed to seduce men with the help of a few cinematic pick up lines systematically linked from The Last Time I Saw Paris, Ruby---the group's red-hot sex kitten---leaves the nest only when it's time to circle for prey. Locating naïve, unassuming men and absconding with their semen from recycled condoms, so she and her equally obtuse sisters can inject themselves with a hearty dose of X chromosomes.
Of course, this may sound preposterous to you and I, but to Rosetta and the girls, this is all quite normal. At least until the chromosomal cuties learn that a dozen of Ruby's recent lovers have been mysteriously cursed with not only erectile dysfunction, but matching brow bearing bar codes that end up branding them with the virtual equivalent of a sexually transmitted disease.
Uncertain of how to handle her "babies" now that Agent Hopper (James Urbaniak) has gone off and hired a sexy private investigator named Dirty Dick (Karen Black) to solve this bizarre case of biologic warfare, Rosetta instructs the fembots to remain safely hidden in the microwave. Only before she discovers that her cantankerous clones have collectively asserted their autonomy, Ruby does the unthinkable and falls in love with Sandy (Jeremy Davies), the shy, sensitive copy guy from the neighborhood print shop, turning this self detached machine into one very human cyber-babe.
A standout at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, Teknolust is the type of sci-fi fantasy that delves deeply into 21st century technology, yet does so without getting too bogged down in techno babble. The film, which is like stepping inside an interactive video game via a real life techhead, touches on the consequences of genetic advancement. Raising the pertinent question, "If Pandora's Box is ever opened, what steps will the scientific community take to ensure that human cloning won't conquer the universe?"
Aside from these timely philosophical musings, Teknolust is at its finest when satirically referencing the metaphysical differences between the scintillatingly self-confident sisters and their insecure mother. Swinton, who gives a tour de force performance as Rosetta, Ruby, Marine, and Olive, shimmers while twirling around the Technicolor dream pad like a kimono-clad whirling dervish. Teknolust circles cyberspace with genetically enhanced proof that sci-fi films don't have to be pretentious to be fantastically fun.
THE DEFINITIVE FILM ON THE HISTORY OF FEMINIST ART!
An entertaining and revelatory “secret history” of Feminist Art, !Women Art Revolution deftly illuminates this under-explored movement through conversations, observations, archival footage... more >
In this award-winning film which was the first to use “virtual sets,” Academy-Award ® winner Tilda Swinton embodies Lady Ada Lovelace, daughter of Romantic poet Lord Byron, and the mathematics genius who developed what became the world's first... more >
For over four decades, through performance, photography, installations, artificial intelligence agents, web presences and cinema, Lynn Hershman's work has explored what it is to live in a world of mediated, monitored, and manipulated identities.... more >