The Lathe of Heaven

Institute History

  • 1990 Sundance Film Festival


An ambitious. accomplished and literate science-fiction production, The Lathe of Heaven has an eerie aura of actuality, the look of a documentary about something which mayor may not have happened.

Set at the end of the twentieth century when the world is on the verge of complete environmental ruin, the film's main character is a young man, George Orr (Bruce Davison), who is plagued by recurrent nightmares, "effective dreams" that seem to change reality. His ability to recreate the world during sleep is examined by Dr. Haber (Kevin Conway), who begins to offer "suggestions" to Orr in a dream state that will create a paradise on earth. Orr's new dreams induce an initial sense of awe as the ever-present rains cease, which evolves into terrifying dread when the overpopulation problem is solved by a massive plague upon humanity and aliens invading the moon.

The Lathe of Heaven succeeds where most sci-fi films crash and burn, on the level of storytelling and meaning, and owes much to Ursula Le Guin's 1971 novel of the same name and her creative consultancy on the project. Public television's first "made for TV movie" is still a landmark production, drawing on the talents of two fine actors, Davison and Conway, the cinematography of Robbie Greenberg (effectively transforming the Dallas-Fort Worth airport into the Brave New World) and the f.x. wizardry of veteran experimental filmmaker Ed Emswhiller-all expertly orchestrated by co-director. co-producer David Loxton.

Saturday, January 20 7:00 p.m.
Holiday Village Cinema III

Saturday, January 27 10:00 p.m.
Holiday Village Cinema II


— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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