Mars Express

Mars Express poster

It was perhaps something she should have anticipated, private investigator Aline Ruby and her partner Carlos Rivera arriving home via Rocosmos flight ME187, the Mars Express, in their custody hacker supreme Roberta Williams accused of causing severe disruption to the systems of high-profile tech industrialist Chris Royjacker only to find that the digital warrant for her arrest no longer exists anywhere in the system…

Unable to detain their suspect despite the certainty of her guilt, distraction is soon found in another case, the family of talented cybernetics student Jun Chow concerned about her whereabouts, missing along with her roommate Dominique Vigy since shortly after an incident when she was attacked in the laboratory by a robot she was working on, Rivera surmising it might have been “jailbroken,” its programming overwritten to allow it to operate autonomously beyond its specified parameters.

Mars Express; Carlos Rivera and Aline Ruby (Daniel Njo Lobé and Léa Drucker) walk the streets of Mars.

The feature debut of director Jérémie Périn co-written with Laurent Sarfati and Jeffrey Paul Kearney, a trip on the Mars Express takes the viewer into a future where the surface of Mars is seen as glittering buildings and open green spaces under blue skies and humanity and artificial life coexist in harmony, but looks are not everything, with anti-robot sentiment leading to violent protests and the original colony tunnels now an underground slum.

A journey which leaves behind the ballet of orbiting satellites of Earth to walk the neon-lit streets of the Red Planet and deeper into the underworld of a supposed technological utopia where students sell the processing power of their brains, if not actual avatars of their bodies and personalities to pay their fees and bills, Mars Express is an animated mystery action film with Léa Drucker, Mathieu Amalric, Marie Bouvet and Daniel Njo Lobé as the voices of Ruby, Royjacker, Williams and Rivera.

Mars Express; Aline Ruby (Léa Drucker) immerses herself in a virtual reality recreation of the attack on missing Jun Chow (Geneviève Doang).

He the most interesting character, the “real” Rivera was declared dead five years previously, his body never found, now a robot inhabited by the recreation of the final download of his memories, neither man nor machine but something of both and clinging to the past of his former life, his widow now remarried and refusing access to his daughter, but also the person best placed to understand the behaviour of the liberated robots.

Ambitious and stunningly designed and rendered, a European production to rival the classics of anime in terms of ambition and its radical vision of tomorrow where the shiny surfaces of the domes and skyscrapers reflect attention away from the inequalities through which capitalism built them, the robots the engineered underclass which keep the wheels turning on the highway to the future, alongside Dune – Part Two it is one of the most exciting science fiction films of the year.

Mars Express is currently touring as part of Si-Fan

Mars Express; the robot uprising begun, the streets of Mars burn as they make their way to the spaceport.



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