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Thought-Provoking Sci-Fi Movie Nights

posters for all five movies of the month in a line

Dec 29, 2022

Science fiction deals with technology and concepts that are often out of reach and difficult to imagine . The best science fiction helps us reflect on who we are as a society or how we fit into the larger picture of the universe. It makes us tackle hard truths about our existence and question our interactions with fellow humans and nature. Here are five films that explore our existence in the universe that we'll be playing at the Main branch of Ottawa Public Library in our auditorium at 5:30PM on every Tuesday of January.

First up is Contact (1997) by Robert Zemeckis. Dr. Ellie Arroway is diligently trying to scan the stars to receive communications from outer space. When she suddenly discovers a message, she does her best to try and interpret the mysterious message. Eventually, she proves to others that it is in fact a message from extraterrestrials of some form. However, despite the amazing new discovery, the National Security Council and religious zealots attempt to block further investigation, as they fear its possible implications. Arroway finally convinces those around her to let her be the one to interpret this message. What will Ellie discover by going to space and decoding this message?

The second film will be Annihilation (2018) by Alex Garland . Biologist and former solider Lena joins a supposed rescue mission to find her missing husband in what has been dubbed "The Shimmer". The mysterious area is growing in size along the coastline, slowly overtaking with its forbodding reach. Lena and her team enter the area and discover a mutated landscape filled with beauty but also massive danger. While the team's safety is at stake, they also notice that their sanity is slowly degrading as well.

Our third film will be the 2009 film Moon by Duncan Jones. Sam Bell's three-year shift at a lunar mine is soon ending. He will finally be reunited with his wife and daughter. Unexpectedly, his health starts to suffer even if it had been perfectly fine throughout the three-year shift. He starts having massive headaches, hallucinations and almost dies from a fatal accident. Despite thinking it was only him and his robot companion GERTY onboard, he finds out that he is not alone on the ship. What he discovers is perplexing. He soon starts to doubt his mission and GERTY's true purpose aboard.

The fourth film will be 2016's Arrival by Denis Villeneuve. Twelve mysterious spaceships land in different locations around the world. While the whole world wonders what the stationary ships are, some nations are bracing for what could potentially be war with extraterrestrials. Linguistics professor Louise Banks is assigned to lead a team of investigators. Banks and her team enter one of the ships and try their best to communicate with the alien species. Attempts to communicate with them must be done hastily as government pressures mount. Banks must make decisions that could threaten her life, or possibly that of all humans, before it's too late.

The final film is 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) by Stanley Kubrick. Co-written by science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke and Kubrick, this time-spanning film centers around the discovery of a mysterious black structure. Dr. Dave Bowman and other astronauts are sent on a mission to unravel the cryptic presence of the object. Deep in space, Dave and his crewmate start to notice that their onboard computer HAL 9000 is increasingly showing odd behaviour. Its human-like qualities are not only displaying intelligence but emotion. Confronting the machine leads to an altering trip through space and time.

 The schedule is as follows:

  • January 3rd - Contact
  • January 10th - Annihilation
  • January 17th - Moon
  • January 24th - Arrival
  • January 31st - 2001: A Space Odyssey

All screenings will begin at 5:30PM

Note: The films are intended for a mature audience. The films contain violence, nudity, strong language and drug use. The films will be screened in their original language with English subtitles where applicable.