This year The Center for Global Studies and the University of Illinois Library will be hosting the International Science Fiction Film Festival! On Wednesday, February 22nd Thursday, February 23rd at 7pm in Lincoln Hall Theatre, two acclaimed science fiction movies will be screened back-to-back with food and discussion.
If you’re interested in the festival’s movies–or you just like science fiction films–we’ve pulled recommendations from the UGL collection to tide you over until the festival!
District 9 is a 2009 science fiction thriller from South Africa and racked up a number of award nominations that made it one of the best science fiction films of the decade. When a ship of ill aliens are discovered flying over Johannesburg, South Africa, humanity imprisons them in a camp called District 9. Years later, one of the aliens attempts to escape home with his son when the government tries to transfer them to another camp. The film took inspiration from the internment camp District 6 in Cape Town during the apartheid era and doesn’t hold back when it comes to themes of xenophobia and segregation.
Casshern is a Japanese dystopian film that describes a world where the Eastern Federation conquers Europe after fifty years of war. Divided into Zones (like a more horrific Hunger Games), the Federation maintains its control with a mix of vicious military and brutal science–until Casshern discovers just how far the Federation is willing to go in the name of science and how far people will go for family.
IF YOU LIKE DISTRICT 9, CHECK OUT:
Cloverfield is set up like another “found footage” film–only instead of aliens, this time it’s monsters. It follows six young New York City residents forced to flee a farewell party when a huge monster (and a number of smaller, more terrifying creatures) attack the city. If you like your science fiction thrillers with a side of horror, this movie is definitely for you.
IF YOU LIKE CASSHERN, BE SURE TO WATCH:
Snowpiercer is the most expensive Korean film ever produced, so be sure to appreciate how beautiful it is before it ruins your life. This emotional train wreck follows the world-spanning Snowpiercer, the non-stop express that separates the last remnants of humanity from freezing to death. The train is divided by a vicious caste system designed to keep the poor starving and the rich flush with champagne–until Chris Evans and his axe begin smashing their way up to the conductor for justice and some answers.
The Mermaid is a retelling of The Little Mermaid and was China’s highest grossing film last year. It follows a Chinese billionaire playboy who buys up the Green Gulf wildlife reserve with big plans to develop it. Little does he know his property is home to merpeople, or that the beautiful woman he’s fallen in love with is in fact a mermaid that’s been sent to assassinate him. It’s the science fiction rom com you didn’t know you needed.
A Werewolf Boy can easily be pitched as Titanic meets Beauty and the Beast. In this South Korean fantasy romance, an elderly Sun-yi recalls being sent to the countryside for her health as a teenager back in 1965–only to meet a feral teenager on her property. They assume he’s an orphan of the Korean War until they discover his high body temperature and unidentifiable blood type. The two teenagers fall in love, but their relationship is fraught with danger as our favorite werewolf gets closer to being discovered.
IF YOU LIKE THE MERMAID, CHECK OUT:
Stardust is a Neil Gaiman book-turned-movie that juxtaposes 19th century English village with the magical kingdom of Stormhold over the wall. The story follows Tristan, who chases a falling star in order to win over his true love–only to discover upon arriving at the crater that the fallen star is, in fact, a woman. Their journey back home is packed with man-eating witches, murderous princes, and cloud pirates named Shakespeare.
IF YOU LIKE A WEREWOLF BOY, YOU SHOULD WATCH:
Beautiful Creatures takes place in the Southern town of Gaitlin, South Carolina, where high schooler Ethan Wate dreams of a girl he’s never met before–until one day the girl from his dreams shows up in his first period class. Ethan doesn’t think Lena is a witch, but something is definitely going on–or why would everyone be working so hard to keep him away from her? If you like fated love stories, family conspiracies, and Southern gothic atmosphere, then you’ll enjoy this paranormal romance.