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Retro SciFi of the Week…

Brainstorm (1983)

Another “mind” scifi, this came out during the Human-Potential Movement which derived from the Psychedelic Movement of the 1960s. Think of this one as the HPM answer to The Manchurian Candidate (1962) which was about brainwashing techniques used by governments. Each of those movements were likely used as covers by clandestine entities for conducting mind control experiments “in the wild”.

This film came out during the period between the end of the Vietnam War and the fall of the USSR. Prior to Vietnam, the military was well-regarded by people in the US due to our victory in WWII. After Vietnam the national mood was “Spit on the baby killers.” During the 1990s without the Soviets around to sustain the anti-military mood in the US, the reputation of the military was repaired as everybody began chanting, “Support the troops”. So you will see an anti-government / anti-military bias in this film (and many films made during that time).

This film is probably most noted for what happened off camera during production. One of the lead actors, Natalie Wood, died in a boating incident under suspicious circumstances and they almost scrapped the film. They had to rework the film and shoot additional scenes using a look-alike for some shots. You may be able to identify those in the film if you look closely.

Also, as with many films from Hollywood, this one has racial bias. Can you identify the bias in this film?

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