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Ackland Film Forum: “Brainstorm” (1983, USA)

19 March | 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Ackland Film Forum | Spring 2019
Fantastic Voyage: Cinematic Journeys into the Brain

Tuesday, 19 March 2019 | 7 PM
Varsity Theatre, 123 E. Franklin Street
Brainstorm (1983, USA), d. Douglas Trumbull, 106 m.

Free for UNC One Card holders; $7 general public. Tickets available at the Varsity Theatre Box Office.

Helmed by the special effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull, whose work on 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner, and many others films has made him a legend, Brainstorm was intended to be the film that would establish Trumbull as the contemporary of Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, and Ridley Scott. But the drowning death of Natalie Wood, the film’s star, toward the end of production delayed the film’s completion, and the resulting fight over whether the film was worth more in the theaters or as a liability write-off so flustered Trumbull that he gave up on directing altogether. But the film, almost entirely shot in North Carolina, is a visionary work on the capacity of virtual reality to blur the lines between what we actually experience, and what we experience through media technologies.

We will have two brief introductions to the film. The first, from George Smart, will focus on the depiction of modernist architecture in the film, including the Burroughs Wellcome building in RTP. Then, Jose Rodriguez-Romaguera will discuss the film’s portrayal of neuroscience.

Jose Rodriguez-Romaguera is a neuroscientist and postdoctoral fellow in the Stuber Lab at the University of North Carolina. George Smart is a self-described “accidental archivist” and the executive director of North Carolina Modernism Houses and USModernist, nonprofit organizations that document, preserve, and promote Modernist design. He’s also the host of the podcast U.S. Modernist Radio.

The Spring 2019 Ackland Film Forum series “Fantastic Voyage: Cinematic Journeys into the Brain” is organized by the Ackland Art Museum and the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of English and Comparative Literature and presented in connection with the Ackland’s exhibition The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (25 Jan – 7 April 2019).


19 March
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Varsity Theatre
123 E. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States
(919) 967-8665