MUBI brings you a great new film every day.  Start your 7-day free trial today!

When man forgets he is a machine and when machine remembers he is a man

By: Malik

List in the making and not in any order outside of grouping franchises together, stay tuned. List has finally expanded beyond just anime and American cyberpunk films, even if there are now 8 Ghost in the Shell films on the list.

Post Human Nightmare The World of Japanese Cyberpunk Cinema

Tenants of a Cyberpunk film
Negative Impact of technology on humanity: In cyberpunk, technology runs rampant, and usually directs most societal interactions. Dystopian near futures are the norm. Sacred societal boundaries are often crossed in these dystopian societies. Often the earth is severly damaged. Crime and drug use are often key supporting themes.

Fusion of man and machine: In addition to cyborgs, sentient programs and robots, cyberpunk often blurs of what it means to be human. Traits we take for granted as representing humanity disappear via introspective looks brought on by the fusion of man and machine. In some cases, such as in the Japanese cyberpunk films, the fusion is explicitly invasive.

Corporate control over society: Cyberpunk almost always has an ever powerful controlling entity that directs society. Most often this is represented as a corporation. Some times its simply an ever present singular government.

Story focuses on the underground: Cyberpunk almost always focuses on the underground of society. While the story may lead to revolution and toppling the power structure, the perspective is always that of the oppressed or the hero of the oppressed.

Ubiquitous Access to information: Cyberpunk often deals with the continual spread and access to information. Hacker themes and ever-connecting internet are common. Additionally, the connection of humans to this omnipresent information stream leads to the blurring of the virtual with the real.

Cyberpunk visuals and style: Cyberpunk visuals, ideally, are dirty, hyper-realistic “lived in” looks at the near future. Often cyberpunk films will have a single dominating color that permeates the film. We also see patterns of dark motifs contrasted with shocking neon color schemes. And just as important, a sense of slick style often pervades a cyberpunk movie.

And obviously here’s the list of movies not in the database.

Cyber City Oedo 808
Appleseed (2004)
Battle Angel
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex*
Bubblegum Crisis
Serial Experiments Lain*
Ergo Proxy*
Aeon Flux*
Fragile Machine
Save the Green Planet

*=Television series



Displaying 3 wall posts.
Picture of Malik



I think Metropolis is a necessity for all Sci-Fi lists because it is the blueprint in some shape, form or fashion. I am a little iffy about the inclusion of A.I., but I decided to include it because the quality. Thematically speaking, I think Pi fairly rests within the cyberpunk definition, even if the budget didn't allow it in the visual sense.

Picture of bluedreamer_sf



Would you really call Pi cyberpunk? And even A.I. is not completely cyberpunk. Metropolis by Lang precedes cyberpunk. It is like the Don Quioxote of SF films. Almost all SF movies have something in common with Metropolis.

Picture of John Calvin Story

John Calvin Story


Cyberpunk = high tech-low life.