Friday, January 8, 2016

'Cli-fi' novelist JG Ballard's 1975 novel ''High-Rise'' debuts as movie on March 6

David Pescovitz at BoingBoing notes there's a new video trailer for ''High-Rise,'' director Ben Wheatley's film based on the 1975 novel by British cli-fi novelist J.G. Ballard, and according to BoingBoing, ''the trailer looks absolutely fantastic.'' Pescovitz also gushes: "And dig the use of Tangerine Dream's track "Love on a Real Train" (famously first heard in Tufts-educacted Steve Tisch's 'Risky Business'')! I can't wait to see this."



Movie release date is March 16 and comes in at 112 minutes



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London, 1975. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) is a young doctor seduced by the lifestyle in a high-rise, an isolated community, cut off from the rest of society in their luxury tower block, and its creator, the architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons). Taking up residence on the 25th, Laing discovers a world of complex loyalties, and also strikes up a relationship with Royal’s devoted aide Charlotte (Sienna Miller). After Laing befriends Richard Wilder (Luke Evans), a documentary filmmaker relegated to the second floor who is determined to provoke the class injustices inherent in the high-rise, a dangerous social situation develops and the high-rise eventually fragments into violent tribes.[1][3][5][6]


A new high-rise seems to give its well-established tenants all the conveniences and commodities that modern life has to offer: swimming pools, its own school, a supermarket, and high-speed elevators. But at the same time, the building seems to be designed to isolate the occupants from the outside world, allowing for the possibility to create their own closed environment.

The high-rise occupants divide themselves into the classic three groups of Western society: the lower, middle, and upper class, but here the terms are literal, as the lower class are those living on the lowest floors of the building, the middle class in the center, and the upper class at the most luxurious apartments on the upper floors.

Life in the high-rise begins to degenerate quickly, as minor power failures and petty annoyances over neighbours escalate into an orgy of violence. Soon skirmishes are being fought throughout the building, as floors try to claim elevators and hold them for their own. Groups gather to defend their rights to the swimming pools. And party-goers attack "enemy floors" to raid and vandalize them.

It does not take long for the occupants of the entire building to abandon all social restraints, and give in to their most primal urges. The tenants completely shut out the outside world, content with their life in the high-rise; people abandon their jobs and families and stay indoors permanently, losing all sense of time. Even as hunger starts to set in, many of the characters in the novel still seem to be enjoying themselves, as the building allows them a chance to break free from the social restrictions of modern society and toy with their own dark urges and desires. As the commodities of the high-rise break down and bodies begin to pile up no one considers leaving or alerting the authorities.

In time the tenants of the high-rise abandon all notions of social and moral etiquette. As their environment gives way to a hunter/gatherer culture, they gather together in small clans, claim food sources from where they can (which includes eating the many dogs in the building, and eventually even the other tenants). Every stranger is met with extreme violence.

As he did in Concrete Island and Crash, Ballard here offers a vision of how modern life in an urban landscape and the advances of technology could warp the human psyche in hitherto unexplored ways.

Flm adaptation

Main article: High-Rise (film)
For over 30 years, British producer Jeremy Thomas has wanted to do a film version of the book. It was nearly made in the late 1970s, with Nicolas Roeg directing from a script by Paul Mayersberg. However, financing fell through and Roeg and Thomas did Bad Timing instead, and Thomas later went on to adapt Ballard's Crash for the screen with director David Cronenberg. In recent times Thomas has revisited High-Rise, and the project has been in development with Canadian filmmaker Vincenzo Natali attached to write and direct.

In August 2013, the website ScreenDaily reported that Ben Wheatley would begin shooting a film adaptation in 2014, from a script by screenwriter Amy Jump.[3] On 5 February 2014, it was announced that Tom Hiddleston will star in the adaptation.[4]

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