Monday 13 March
Strange Encounters: Paranoia and British Science Fiction Cinema
Partnership event with Café Scientifique
Robert Shail will explain, in an illustrated talk, how Science Fiction, whether in literature or cinema, has often been used as a vehicle to express contemporary anxieties.
Alien encounters, rogue technology and dystopian futures are often projections of real fears about our current predicaments. This was never more the case than in the 1950s and 1960s when a cycle of American science fiction films including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Them! (1954) gave voice to Cold War anxieties and the threat of nuclear catastrophe.
These films are well known but Professor Shail’s talk will focus on the more neglected area of British science fiction cinema of the same period.
Key films include the John Wyndham adaptations Village of the Damned (1960) and The Day of the Triffids (1962), and the recently revived The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961). These films bring a peculiarly British quality to the genre, with strange encounters taking place against the backdrop of sleepy villages and cosy suburbs.
Robert Shail is Professor of Film and Director of Research in the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts at Leeds Beckett University.
He has published widely on postwar British cinema and his latest book is The Children’s Film Foundation: History and Legacy (Palgrave/ British Film Institute).
7.30pm New Headingley Club,
only on the door