Silent Runninginterview with Inez de Coo - AFFR
9–13 Oct 2024
film • stad • architectuur

Film – City – Architecture

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AFFR part of Cultuurplan
2025 – 2028

We’re pleased to announce that AFFR has received a positive - and even laudatory - advice from the Cultuurplan Advisory Committee for the period 2025-2028, which is certainly something to be proud of: "In recent years, Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam…
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Silent Running
interview with Inez de Coo

"Douglas Trumbull worked as a kind of architect in the genre of speculative science-fiction films, and so he could really think about what the future would look like." On Saturday 15 June, AFFR will screen the science fiction classic Silent Running. AFFR programmer Inez de Coo shares more about the film and why it's an absolute must-see.

Silent Running<br>interview with Inez de Coo

A brief recap: Who are you and what’s your role at AFFR?

My name is Inez de Coo. Besides working as a film programmer with AFFR, I’m a programmer of special events for the Imagine Fantastic Film Festival and a curator at We Are Public. Before all that, I worked at IMPAKT in Utrecht. My background is in both visual art and film, and everything in between. I’m always on the lookout for films that challenge viewers and offer them new perspectives, whether they’re established classics or arthouse gems. Sitting in a cinema seat is where you’ll usually find me. 

Why did the AFFR editors select this particular film, Silent Running? What makes it so urgent?

We were looking for a film that reflected the context of the theme of the Rotterdam Architecture Month’ 24 ‘Garden of the City’ and that could also extend that idea somewhat. Plenty of films have been made about gardens but the concept of a garden acquires a new dimension in science fiction. The garden in Silent Running is inextricably linked to the future of humanity. Now that the effects of the climate crisis are starting to take on increasingly clear forms and politics is becoming so polarized, it’s important to continue to tackle the issue imaginatively. This classic from 1972(!) does just that. It was way ahead of its time.

What is the link with architecture and the RA Month?

As I said, we think this film aligns perfectly with the theme of ‘Garden of the City’. The gardens in the domes of the spaceship Valley Forge contain the last forests on earth. The earth in Silent Running has been left uninhabitable as a result of the exploitation and destruction of nature. That might sound familiar. What’s more, they’re typical 1970s-style domes, inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic structures. AFFR has worked with this theme more often in the past. Our opening film in 2020 was Spaceship Earth, a documentary about the Biosphere 2. You could consider this to be the true story of Silent Running, in which a group of idealists let themselves be locked inside a hermetically sealed building for a year as an experiment for the colonization of Mars. Things quickly got out of control.

What appeals to you personally? What makes this a must-see film for people?

To me, Silent Running is every bit as relevant as it was back in the 1970s. What makes it particularly amazing are the sets. As the son of the designer of the legendary effects in The Wizard of Oz (1939), Trumbull had been interested in the magic of film from an early age. One of his first projects involved designing visual effects for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). One reason that film was such a success was because the spaceships looked so real. In addition, the so-called Stargate sequence, devised and executed in its entirety by Trumbull, is a phenomenal piece of visual effects design. In Silent Running, his own film, he went all out. The spaceship Valley Forge was built as a big model, and you can see that Trumbull originally wanted to become an architect. A few of the domes still exist. One was on display in the 2019 exhibition Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction. Douglas Trumbull worked as a kind of architect in the genre of speculative science-fiction films, and so he could really think about what the future would look like.

Silent Running will be screened once only on Saturday 15 June, 20:00 – 22:00, at the Henket Pavilion of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, festival heart of Rotterdam Architecture Month ’24.

film • city • architecture 9 - 13 Oct. 2024