Anthology Film Archives


May 13 – May 22

British author J.G. Ballard is one of the towering figures of 20th-century experimental literature, a writer whose uncompromising, fearless, and sometimes frighteningly penetrating vision of our modern, technological society, and the psychological and erotic dimensions that underlie it, manifested itself in 19 masterful novels and many dozens of short stories. It’s curious that such a profoundly modern writer, and one who was, both in his life and his work, consistently preoccupied with the movies (he lived for 50 years in Shepperton, a stone’s throw from the famous Shepperton Film Studios), has seen so few of his works adapted into film. Aside from the two most famous adaptations – David Cronenberg’s worthy CRASH (1996) and Steven Spielberg’s EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987), which was faithful to the letter, but not at all to the spirit, of Ballard’s 1984 autobiographical novel – film versions of his writings have been few and far between, and little-known.

Nevertheless, Ballard and the cinema stand in fascinating relation to each other, both through the handful of ‘official’ adaptations, a number of far more obscure underground films, Ballard’s own documentary appearances, the films that Ballard expressed his admiration for (including Chris Marker’s LA JETÉE and George Miller’s MAD MAX 2), and, perhaps less obviously but at least as importantly, the numerous films that unmistakably reflect a Ballard-ian sensibility. This film series, timed to coincide with the release of Ben Wheatley’s long-awaited adaptation of Ballard’s novel, HIGH-RISE (1975), showcases movies from all these various categories, demonstrating Ballard’s typically multi-faceted relationship to the cinema.

Very special thanks to Simon Sellars, creator of the invaluable Ballard resource, Thanks also to Zoe Beloff; Tim Burns; Harley Cokeliss; Tacita Dean; Solveig Nordlund; Christopher Petit; Sam Scoggins; Jonathan Weiss; Brian Belovarac (Janus Films); Charlotta Bjuvman (Telepicture Marketing); Adam Bloch (Lionsgate); Neal Block & Matt Cowal (Magnolia Pictures); Steph Carter (National Film and Sound Archive of Australia); Carolina Fernandez & Vicky Mitchell (BBC); Kenneth Graham (KS Objectiv); Harry Guerro; Alainée Kent (Recorded Picture); Jonathan Lynch-Staunton (Hanway Films); Louise Machin (Illuminations Television); Kristie Nakamura & Nicki Woods (WB); Marine Pariente (Marian Goodman Gallery); and Kamiel van der Ster (De Filmfreak).

Magnolia Pictures will release Ben Wheatley’s HIGH-RISE on Demand, on Amazon Video, and on iTunes April 28, followed by a theatrical release May 13.

< Back to Series