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823 Ratings

World on a Wire

Welt am Draht

West Germany, 1973
Sci-Fi, Mystery, TV Movie


Originally made for German television, this recently rediscovered, three-and-a-half-hour labyrinth is a satiric and surreal look at the weird world of tomorrow from one of cinema’s kinkiest geniuses.

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World on a Wire Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

What are people saying?

  • smndvdcl's rating of the film World on a Wire

    Retro-futurism and depictions of the simulacra. Fassbinder's direction has a nauseating knack at realising dystopias with an aesthetic and acoustic canvas that few contemporary films could ever match. Pertinent questions on AI, existentialism and ideology remain.

  • EdieEmm's rating of the film World on a Wire

    If paranoia was an aesthetic! Gleeful. Perverse. Necessarily distant. And, via all of that, entirely serious. The commodification of lives for identity tourism or for elaborate, detached marketing experiments by the oligarchs... it's less a fear of our own meaninglessness & more the existential, entirely justified fear that we might reap what we sow; fear of our inescapable reflection, & the fragility of our denial*

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film World on a Wire

    It took me all day to finish this movie. It never seemed to end, which was fine with me. Bring on the weirdness. It seems like RWF's answer to 'Alphaville' and even has Eddie Constantine in it. Raab was doing his Fritz Haarmann, while Klaus Löwitsch did a very credible action hero. Nothing is as it seems!

  • T. J. Mesen's rating of the film World on a Wire

    Top Ten countdown – #4 Fassbinder uses long zoom-outs and long panning shots to build a world full of reflecting images and ideas. Layered so that each scene adds on new meaning to the whole; pace slowly revealing the existential crisis at its heart. As much a commentary about our own reality, as well as metacommentary on the worlds created by films (which characters cannot escape) and the filmmaker as puppet master.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film World on a Wire

    World on a Wire is a fascinating effort by RWF, powered by staggering production design and expressionistic acting and camera movements, which albeit seeming awkward at first, fit perfectly within Fred Stiller's 'reality' and all its underdeveloped electromagnetic impulses.Challenging perception and raising questions about our own existence, the film laid the groundwork to all existencial sic-fis in decades to come.

  • Matthew Martens's rating of the film World on a Wire

    The first and best adaptation of Daniel Galouye's PKD-esque thought experiment, Welt Am Draht places its urgent ontological conundra within a dizzying mise-en-scene and against a social background defined, on every level of reality, by the prerogatives of maximizing capital. Beneath the shadow of the specter of total simulation walks the gumshoe Stiller, once complicit with mid-level illusionism, painfully waking up.

  • T. J. Harman's rating of the film World on a Wire

    I loved it. I wish Fassbinder had done more mindfuck movies like this. The last hour is the best. The plot and themes might not be as special since so many movies have mined the same territory in the 30plus years since this film but it's still unique as hell. Ballhaus' cinemtography is amazing. This film sorta reminded me of a cross between Solaris and the tv show The Prisoner.

  • Matthew_Lucas's rating of the film World on a Wire

    Rainer Werner Fassbinder's labyrinthine sci-fi mind bender may have been made for West German TV, but this isn't just another made for TV movie. Reminiscent of the work of Philip K. Dick, WORLD ON A WIRE tells the story of a group of scientists who create a digital society on a computer that resembles real life, but one begins to suspect the "real" world may not be so real after all. Tense, taut, & utterly thrilling

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