Film 5: Silent Running (1972)

A lonely astro-botanist attempts to save the Earth’s forests from extinction in this extraordinary eco sci-fi classic.

Silent Running (1971)

Silent Running (1971)

In the not-too-distant future an American Airlines freighter orbiting Saturn contains some of the Earth’s last remaining living organisms. When its crew discover that the ecosystems are to be destroyed, Freeman Lowell, the ship’s resident astro-botanist, refuses to comply. Disillusioned by his crewmates’ inability to grasp the importance of preserving these last fragments of a living Earth, Lowell takes matters into his own hands.

Silent Running was the only film directed by Douglas Trumbull, the influential special effects artist behind 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). This fantastic work of speculative fiction has been named as a favourite by many contemporary directors. The film’s science fictional treatment of animal and plant extinction directly responded to the concerns of the environmental movement of the time and of course still strongly resonates today.

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