Below is a list of 12 titles compiled by Ros Cranston, curator in the BFI’s National Film and Television Archive.
» Metropolis (1927). Not Rated. 153 min. Drama | Sci-Fi. Directed by Fritz Lang. Black and White, 35mm.
“Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a Mediator, and this must be the heart.” —Maria
» Man with a Movie Camera (1929). Not Rated. 68 min. Documentary. Directed by Dziga Vertov. Black and White, 35mm.
This experimental silent film featured no actors and no story.
» Plenty of Time for Play (1935). Not Rated. 15 min. Documentary/Short. Directed by Alexander Esway. Black and White.
According to the BFI, this Electrical Development Association-sponsored short imagined an optimistic, though not entirely accurate, view of the future, from “the electric oven in 1935 to plastic clothes, video phones, vacuum tube emails, and the home cinema by 1955.”
» The Face of Britain (1935). Not Rated. 18 min. Documentary/Short. Directed by Paul Rotha. Black and White.
This decisively critical documentary examined industrialization’s destructive impacts on Britain and its citizens.
» Modern Times (1936). Rated G. 87 min. Comedy/Drama. Directed by Charlie Chaplin. Black and White, 35mm.
“Hey you! Get back to work!” —President of the Electro Steel Corp.
» Things to Come (1936). Not Rated. 100 min. Sci-Fi. Directed by William Cameron Menzies. Black and White, 35mm.
“I don’t suppose any man has ever understood any woman since the beginning of things. You don’t understand our imaginations.” —Roxana
» River of Steel (1951). Not Rated. 10 min. Animation/Short. Directed by Peter Sachs. Technicolor.
“That lop looking over the briny, is just a tiny sample, an example of the way steel goods pay for the stuff we import, of the way steel holds the fort. If goods made of steel went going double the prewar rate, we’d be in real trouble. So you sit down to a square meal, and you’re eating steel.” —Narrator
» Desk Set (1957). Not rated. 103 min. Comedy/Romance. Directed by Walter Lang. Color, 35mm.
“Well, if we do get canned, we won’t be the only ones to lose our jobs because of a machine.” —Peg Costello
» Alphaville (1965). Not rated. 99 min. Drama/Mystery/Sci-Fi. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. Black and White, 35mm.
“Fuck yourself with your logic.” —Lemmy Caution
» The Shadow of Progress (1970). Not Rated. 30 min. Short. Directed by Derek Williams. Color, 16mm.
This BAFTA award-winning documentary explores how in meeting the demands of a fulfilling life, technology has destroyed the environment.
» Koyaanisqatsi (1982). Unrated. 86 min. Documentary/Music. Directed by Godfrey Reggio. Color, 35mm.
A plot-less assemblage of exquisitely photographed phenomena, scored by Philip Glass, connects nature, humanity and the evolving relationship between them.
» Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). Rated R. 108 min. Drama/Romance/Sci-Fi. Directed by Michel Gondry. Color, 35mm.
“Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.” —Joel Barish
See companion: SILICON ASSETS