Film Scouts Diaries

1995 Independent Feature Film Market Diaries
Market Report 3

by Kathleen Carroll

Sept. 23, 1995

"Synthetic Pleasures" is a real blast from the future - a mind-expanding psychedelic trip that explores man's latest attempts to assert the power of technology over the forces of nature. Directed with gusto and humor by Iara Lee this invigorating sci-fi documentary provides a crash course in what you might call in-body experiences or altered states, touching on everything from cyber sex to computer-controlled indoor ski slopes.

In one funny sequence the camera zeroes in on Japan's Ocean Dome where beach goers are seen frolicking happily in shark-free waves. The young woman, operating the electronic controls of this fully enclosed "paradise," issues a typhoon warning which is cheerfully ignored.

In one of the more bizarre sequences a French performance artist is shown submitting to plastic surgery. Her specialty is body-altering and in this all to graphic operation she's having implants added so that her forehead will match that of the Mona Lisa.

One also meets the head of the Cryonic Institute. Two young men subsequently engage in a critical discussion of the merits of preserving the dead through refrigeration. "Like Walt Disney. Look how old he is now," one of them declares. "When they bring him back to life he's just going to die again 'cause he's so old. You know what I'm saying."

What I'm saying is this is a visually inventive, highly informative movie that rarely lags thanks to the snappy editing. The future is now and SYNTHETIC PLEASURES should help you to face it.

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