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Sundance may be over, but it's still a noteworthy week in the world of virtual cinema, with films like Sundance submission A Glitch in the Matrix, French Oscar submission Two of Us, and Heatworn Highways streaming through local theaters, and with other options hitting national platforms, like the Zendaya-helmed drama Malcolm & Marie on Netflix. Plus, Dan Savage's porn film festival HUMP! continues this weekend—and if you get inspired to make your own movie, don't forget that its sister festival, the stoner-centric SPLIFF, is accepting submissions through March 5!
Streaming: Local Connection
A Glitch in the Matrix
At the core of A Glitch in the Matrix is an all-American tragedy connected to The Matrix, which was released in the last year of the 20th century and is about a bunch of machines who create a virtual reality program for their primary source of energy, human bodies (the sky is scorched or something like that). If you wake up from this VR program, which is supposed to keep humans calm enough to be stably productive, you end up in the "desert of the real," which has no steak or cool clobber. (Digression: The VR program that keeps most sleeping humans happy does not simulate a classless Utopia but what the celebrated French economist calls a "proprietary society" that has the exact same inequalities that plague the real world beyond the silver screen, our world [if you are wondering], and often results in revolts by the poor and oppressed—an examination of this point will bring the whole marvelous, spectacular, cinematic edifice of The Matrix crashing down.) What the Glitch examines, but somehow fails to flesh out (in that pun hovers the phantom of Maurice Merleau-Ponty), which is why the doc is disappointing but still worth watching, is an issue that is much more related to gun control rather than dangers of virtual reality or the possibility that humans live in a simulation. CHARLES MUDEDE
Grand Illusion & Northwest Film Forum