Ex Machina

(2015, directed by Alex Garland)
Ex Machina poster

Dangerous Games

Testing the limits of our senses as well as our moral sensibilities, Ex Machina is truly a Bluebeard tale for the 21st century. Who is “beauty” and who “beast” in our post-human era? Whose happy ending do we champion in a world where some values cannot be tested? Resurrecting the gothic humanism of Mary Shelley, William Blake, and the romantic modernists and exemplifying a spirit which continues to haunt contemporary philosophy in its quest to decode the mysteries of artificial life and intelligence, Ex Machina is more than a moral fable. It is a philosophical puzzle which addresses the viewer directly.

Short featurettes: A Beauty and the Beast trailer program (five to six trailers, from Sabrina to Fifty Shades of Grey)

Free and open to the public.

Part of the 20172018 Schlesinger Library Film Series

Fairy tales are frequently described as magic mirrors for our unseen selves. In them, we find reflected our own waking-life dreams—our happy endings and hopes of fairy tale romance—and our most irresistible nightmares. What does feminist discourse see in its own magic mirrors? This seven-part film series will explore the illuminating, alluring, provocative, polarizing, and playful pas de deux that is currently unfolding between feminism and the fairy tale against the stage of contemporary cinema. Each evening’s feature includes a film short and brief introduction to the programming.

Feminism and the Fairy Tale is curated by Katie Kohn, a doctoral candidate in film and visual studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.