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Cinema & The Arts as Sermons: Dark City - Memory and Identity

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Dark City - Memory and Identity
Dark City - Memory and Identity

Dark City - Memory and Identity

Dark City was a visionary achievement and has been compared to “Metropolis’ and “2001- A Space Odyessy and I would add “Blade Runner” and The Fifth Element.

It has unfortunately been missed by many movie fans.

Dark City fits in the niche of Film-Tech Noir of Film Noir.

This has been one of my favorite movies since it came out, despite its dark and nihilistic tone there is light in the darkness.

"The Strangers" are the gods of Dark City's universe, and they are all to willing to sacrifice people, human memory and personality to preserve their own existence. They use the human dead as their vessels.

The movie is about one of these people, one of thousands kidnapped by 'The Strangers" from what we assume is earth. These "Strangers" manipulate the environment, recreating it every day to repurpose people into new and different lives with the use of cranial injections of new memories and identities. They want the human soul!

The Dark City
The Dark City

Director Alex Proyas

Alex Proyas is an Australian film director, screenwriter and producer best known as the director of the films Dark City, I, Robot, Knowing, and Gods of Egypt. His directorial debut was the 1994 film The Crow.

Alexander Proyas was born in Alexandria, Egypt to Greek parents. At three years of age he moved with his family to Sydney Australia. When he was 17 Alex attended the Australian Film, Television, and Radio School.

The first film he directed was an independent sci-fi thriller “Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds” which were nominated for two Australian Film Institute Awards in 1988 and won a Special Prize at the 1990 Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival.

In 1994, Alex directed The Crow, a film starring Brandon Lee. Brandon was killed in an on-set accident on March 31, 1993. Alex was faced with the decision to either complete the film without Brandon. He then decided to finish the film, he re-wrote the incomplete scenes, filming the rest of the film using stunt doubles and special-effects. The film was released in May 1994.

In 1998, Alex wrote, directed and produced the sci-fi thriller Dark City which went on to receive critical acclaim and won several awards but was not a commercial success. In 2004, Alex directed I, Robot, another sci-fi film which was a box office success, followed by the movie “Knowing” which was released in Melbourne, Australia in March 2008 and opened in North America in March 2009.

More recently, Alex directed the 2016 film Gods of Egypt starring Nikolaj Coster- Waldau. The film was a critical and commercial failure.

Proyas films are visually dazzling and genre defining and we can observe a direct relationship of influence with movies like The Matrix, The Dark Knight, Underworld and Inception to name

Alex also has a YouTube Channel on which he he showcases his short films and amazing filmmaking tutorials, philosophies, and live streams.

Alex Proyas Film Studio The Heretic Foundation

"The Concept:

A revolutionary approach to video & film production, HERETIC FOUNDATION is a creative syndicate, diving into the deep end of virtual production. We are creating a unique holistic answer to the demands of next level immersive storytelling.

The brainchild of director Alex Proyas, HERETIC FOUNDATION is building the new paradigm in video & film production – combining all creative disciplines of production: shoot, edit, vfx, sound, colour grade & finish.

We aim to be a game changer in the way films & content of all kinds can be created. Employing a dedicated seamless workflow and the flexibility of Unreal Engine and LED screen tech we build virtual worlds and place ultimate control into the hands of creators.'

from the website:

Below is an excellent interview from Indie Film Hustle.

A Dark City Series??

"Now Proyas reportedly has some big Dark City news that’ll definitely have longtime fans tuning out all other distractions: a brand-new series set within the Dark City universe. Bloody Disgusting caught his recent comments on the new series — which he reportedly described as being in the “very early stages” — during Proyas’ recent Q&A at the Popcorn Frights Film Festival, where the famed director of The Crow showed up to premiere a new 20-minute short titled Mask of the Evil Apparition.

“Dark City right now is really an intriguing one to me because we’re developing a series, a Dark City series,” Proyas told host (and fellow filmmaker) Joe Lynch, via BD’s report..." from the article: DARK CITY DIRECTOR ALEX PROYAS REPORTEDLY TUNING UP FOR NEW SERIES BASED ON THE 1998 SCI-FI CULT CLASSIC

What Makes You You?

God tells us this: Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

The first half of this verse applies to all humans while the second part applies specifically to the prophet Jeremiah but the verse has implications for all God’s people throughout the ages. God reveals that when he creates a person, it is from a plan that he has developed before he began forming them “in the womb.” He not only knows who he is going to make, he knows the person as though they have already been made.

Our consciousness, our soul and human spirit make us distinct and unique human beings created by God. Our memories accrue in our minds, expressed by our physical brains.

God created our brains to process an unimaginably complex stream of information that pour into our brain every second from all our senses. As we live in the world, our brains must discard useless details and retain anything of short-term or long-term value.

We then are created in God’s image.

David talks about the unique role that God plays in bringing us into existence in Psalm 139:13-15.

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

The environment has an ongoing and significant impact on our lives, yet God has already written on our ‘slate’ when He created us (Psalm 139:13). God has given us each a unique personality and natural strengths and weaknesses. He also has given us unique abilities like the ability to play an instrument, artistic ability, intelligence, etc.

The memories we retain become part of us and who we are as we move toward eternity. We will retain theses memories forever.

So in the world of Dark City we confront the issue of how our memory and identity are linked. Now as with many subjects in Science fiction we must realize this is fiction and not Science. Although God permits us to push the limits of our knowledge, arrogance and sin he always reigns us in. We are approaching the edge of the cliff now with many things like AI and genetic modification. In Dark City

Recalling “Blade Runner” the replicants had implanted memories.

God is Faithful

Psalm 71:9

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.

Are we not ourselves anymore as dementia/Alzheimer's sets in?

If a person has been a faithful Christian all his life and now has Alzheimer’s disease, what will it mean for him/her in terms of their faith walk and remembering the Lord?

Experiences with Alzheimer's are different for everyone. The walk of faith often becomes much more difficult and they seem less inclined towards practicing it. The disease raises an issue of remembering and faith.

The “second forgetting” that can come with Alzheimer’s is to forget God’s faithfulness, presence and promises. We must know that even when we forget because of disease or injury, God remembers and cares for the those suffering and their family. God never forgets.

Mast also focuses on Alzheimer’s caregivers who he recognizes carry a heavy burden of the physical demands of care” but also will experience “overwhelming fatigue and grief from losses that have already occurred and anxiety over what they anticipate will happen.

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