- LULU / PANDORA'S BOX
- DAPHNIS AND CHLOE
- FEDRA
- THE FUGITIVE KIND
- THE TESTAMENT OF ORPHEUS
- PHAEDRA
- HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS
- YOUNG APHRODITES
- CONTEMPT
- PROMETHEUS FROM THE VISEVICE ISLAND
- SANDRA OF A THOUSAND DELIGHTS
- THE GOLDEN THING
- THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS
- EURIDICE BA 2037
- IPHIGENIA
- A DREAM OF PASSION
- CLASH OF THE TITANS
- THE YEARS OF THE BIG HEAT
- ENIOCHUS - THE CHARIOTEER
- ANTIGONE
- EDIPO ALCADE
- THAT'S LIFE
- BLADE RUNNER
- VERTIGO
- MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA
- ORPHEUS
- PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
- ULYSSES
- HERACLES AND THE QUEEN OF LYDIA
- BLACK ORPHEUS
- ANTIGONE
- ELECTRA
- JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS
- ‘«Ň GORGON
- OEDIPUS REX
- ‘«Ň ILLIAC PASSION
- THE CANNIBALS
- ŐEDEA
- NOTES FOR AN AFRICAN ORESTEIA
- FOR ELECTRA
- PROMETHEUS IN THE SECOND PERSON
- VOYAGE TO CYTHERA
- ULYSSES' GAZE
- ‘«Ň MATRIX
- O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

‘«Ň MATRIX
USA – Ńustralia, 1999


Directed by: Andy & Larry Wachowski. Screenplay: Andy & Larry Wachowski. Director of Photography: Bill Pope. Set Design: Geofrey Darrow. Costume Design: Kym Barrett. Music: Don Davis. Film Editor: Zach Staenberg. Special Effects: John Gaeta. Cast: Keanu Reeves (Neo), Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus), Carrie-Ann Moss (Trinity), Hugh Weaving (Agent Smith), Joe Pantoliano (Cypher), Gloria Foster (Oracle), Marcus Chong (Tank), Matt Doran, Bellinda McClory, Paul Goddard. Production: Joel Silver for Warner Bros, Village Roadshow. Length: 136 min. Colour.

Menial office worker Thomas Anderson operates by night as computer hacker Neo. Warnings from unknown girl Trinity fail to prevent his detention by law-enforcement agent Smith, who demands Neo help capture notorious subversive Morpheus. Refusing to co-operate, Neo is released. Trinity takes him to meet Morpheus, leader of the struggle against the Matrix, an artificial hintelligence that controls the world. Morpheus explains that the planet’s long-derelict citizens are trapped in the illusion of 1999 (really the distant past) until converted into food and energy to power the Matrix itself. Joining Morpheus’ team, Neo endures an agonizing, awakening process. Although his body is on life support system, a mental projection of his digital self roams the Matrix’s simulation of the everyday. He can also be programmed with phenomenal skills. Morpheus is convinced they have found in Neo the fabled leader, The One, who can rescue the planet. Betrayed by fellow crew-member Cypher, Morpheus is captured by Smith, desperate to prise from him the location of Zion, the last stronghold of humanity. Rushing to the rescue, Neo and Trinity battle enormous odds to save him. As Matrix forces close in, Smith traps Neo and shoots him down. But when Trinity declares her love to Neo’s body his digital self is miraculously resurrected. He blows Smith apart and returns to his body just in time to thwart the Matrix invaders. Embracing Trinity and accepting his role as The One, he prepares to revitalize a dormant world.

A gleeful utopia
The Wachowski Brothers wrote and sold the script for The Matrix before they made their first film, the mesmerizing crime thriller Bound. They have since reported that between comic-book conception (a spin-off from their work at Marvel on the Hellraiser stories) and production go-ahead, "the script that nobody understands" underwent considerable fine-tuning, thanks to studio insistence on explanatory dialogue. Even so, for a breathlessly vertiginous first quarter The Matrix scorns offering any rationale behind its attention-grabbing assaults and chases, leaving only its peevish spokesperson to mutter legitimate protests on our behalf ("This is insane! Why is it happening to me? What did I do?") until reasonably concluding he must be half-asleep. At which point, naturally, he falls into the grasp of Morpheus.
[...]
More squarely, the film is an ironic reading of Logan’s Run (1976), with a nod to Soylent Green (1973) and more than a dash of Zardoz (1973). The Wachowskis unveil a seedy utopia where mankind is preserved, protected and endlessly recycled by its own mega-computer. The alternative to this artificial stasis is, as usual, well beyond the wit of mortal proles. Necessarily, The Matrix ends much where is started, its newborn visionary poised –liked Logan or 2001s Starchild or THX 1138’s hero or even like Luke Skywalker (prime exponent of the "Why me?" syndrome)– on the brink of literally unimaginable new benefits. Away from the meddlesome tyranny of the machine, the superhero will be in charge. There’s always One.
The prospect is less than reassuring and the Wachowskis don’t hide their misgiving. Played by Keanu Reeves with a certain gloomy helplessness, Neo gives a good impression of being incapable of original thought (he is, after all, as programmed as any Matrix slave) and little sign of inspiring social reform. But two voices speak loudly and persuasively on behalf of Matrix: the traitorous terrorist Cypher celebrates it for colourful comforts unmatched by the drab post-apocalyptic real world; and the fearsome man-in-black humanoid Agent Smith [...] spells out its evolutionary task by dismissing humans as "a plague – and we are the cure". The same dispassionate logic was prologue to The Terminator and more recently at the core of Virus.
But if the Wachowskis claim no originality of message, they are startling innovators of method. As with Bound, the film is a feast of unexpected fidgets and perspectives, punctuated by trademark overhead shots and teasing detail and detour, such as the squeal of washed windows as Neo is reprimanded by his boss, or the White Rabbit subtext culminating in a glimpse of Night of the Lepus (1972) on a television. Just as in Bound, telephones play a vital role, while the fetishistic use of shades and black leather tells yet another story, encompassing Smith’s chipped lens and Neo’s triumphal final outfit. Primarily, The Matrix is a wonderland of tricks and stunts, light year from Kansas, combing computerized slow-motion with the extravagant choreography of martial-arts movies to create a broadside of astonishing images. As Neo turns cartwheels, blazing away behind wildly exploding decor, it seems clear that the Wachowskis have discovered a gleeful utopia of their own.

Philip Strich
"Sign and Sound", Vol. 9, July 1999