19 March 2024

Science. Art. Film. | Vesper + panel

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Still from the film Vesper showing a dystopic landscape

Vesper (Kristina Buožytė/Bruno Samper, 2022)

MA15+ | 114 Mins | 2022 | DCP | BEL, FRA, LTU | D: Kristina Buozyte/Bruno Samper

This recent science fiction release is set in the wake of an environmental catastrophe, wrought by out-of-control genetic technology, which separates survivors on either side of stark class divisions. In a post-apocalyptic world, teenage bio-hacker Vesper is presented with a chance to save her struggling community if she can find a way to cultivate a precious discovery of seeds. With surprisingly pared-back visual effects and stunning landscape cinematography, this Lithuanian/French/Belgian co-production from writer/directors Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper offers audiences a tender and remarkably near-future feeling, human-scale fable.

Vesper presents both positive and negative dimensions of genetic engineering, both fulfilling and subverting genre conventions. This film also explores ‘biohacking’ – genetic engineering by lay people – and invites audiences to consider the implications for the ‘real’ world. Join us after the movie for an insightful panel discussion exploring these and other questions.

Vesper plays like a cult film waiting to be discovered. It adeptly fuses a compelling YA-friendly story about a teenage girl’s survival in a hostile environment with dense, thoughtful world-building…’ – The Guardian


Dr Dan Santos is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. Broadly, he is interested in examining the social, economic and environmental dimensions of emerging biotechnologies, especially with respect to questions around innovation, public engagement and openness in science. Recently, this has included biohacking, synthetic biology, and stem cells. Dr Santos is also a big movie buff, and in a former life – prior to his PhD – enjoyed writing movie reviews.

Dr Anna-Sophie Jürgens (moderator) is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and the Head of the Popsicule – ANU’s Science in Popular Culture and Entertainment Hub. Her research explores the cultural meanings of science in different pop cultural media.

More panellists to be announced soon.

This screening is part of the Science.Art.Film. series at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia: uncovering wacky, weird and wonderful facets of science and art in films. Presented by the NFSA, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and ANU Humanities Research Centre.

The details

What: Vesper screening + panel discussion
When: Wednesday 17 April at 6pm
Where: NFSA Canberra (Arc Cinema)
Cost: Free, bookings essential. Book tickets

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