Douglas Trumbull's 1972 thinker, Silent Running, is not your typical science fiction film, at least to the modern viewer. The emphasis is on ideas and people rather than endless action. Bruce Dern stars as Freeman Lowell, the ecologist aboard the Valley Forge, one of the massive spaceships that contain Earth's last remaining forests. Lowell doesn't get along well with his fellow crewman, mostly because they see no importance in hauling forests around space -- an attitude that causes Lowell great anguish. When the order comes to abandon the project and destroy the ships and their precious cargo, Lowell refuses to comply. He commandeers the ship and plans to run to deep space, saving his beloved forests. Lowell commits some heinous acts to do so, and eventually has to come to terms with his "by any means necessary" approach to protecting what remains of the ecology. The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum presents a free screening of this unusually affecting film at 7 p.m. this evening at the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, University City; kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu) as a tie-in to its current exhibit, Tomas Saraceno: Cloud Specific.
Thu., Dec. 8, 2011