Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Year Released: 1973
Progressive TV movie made back in the early seventies by perpetually ahead-of-his-time Fassbinder has the new head of a company, Fred Stiller (Klaus Löwitsch) investigating the disappearance of a colleague and trying to piece together the inner-workings of a mysterious (and insidious) computer program called Simulacron, which appears to be able to simulate an alternate reality. Though I found some of the facts and logic to be a little scrambled (probably intentionally so), in the hands of an avant-garde ultra-realist like RWF it still manages to work (and be fun) - the style remains his own even though he's dealing with the kind of sci-fi material that's out of his comfort range, which proves his gift as a versatile filmmaker and, dare I say it, auteur (better to bend the film's content to you than to bend to your content). Ends, curiously enough, with a surprisingly optimistic (of sorts) conclusion, which has Stiller and his main love interest locked in mutual affection: rarely did RWF allow for any kind of peaceful understanding (on any level of reality) enter his worldview. It's been noted that this helped pave the way for The Matrix, but am I alone in thinking this influenced Lynch and Mark Frost's equally perplexing Twin Peaks TV program?