Past Event29 Jul 2023

Fantastic Machine

No longer available

The Civic


Given the acceleration of technology and the intensity of our media consumption, no film on this subject can adequately encapsulate the evolution of image-making over the past 200 years. But intaking us from the wonders of camera obscura to the horrors of a chimpanzee being trained to scroll through Instagram, Fantastic Machine smartly and ironically defines what is glorious, god awful, and terrifying about our ability to record and disseminate everything.

Citing powerful examples of the manipulation and commodification of imagery pre-digital era, the directors also tackle the age of the internet, content, monetisation and algorithms—no small feat, when literally billions of images are published and viewed daily. Matching Executive Producer Ruben Östlund’s pitch black sense of humour, there’s a gobsmacking absurdity to the reality—or sheer stupidity—of the situations compiled here that, depending on your view of the modern world, will either blow your mind or make you facepalm.—Tim Wong.

View the full NZIFF 2023 programme at

New Zealand International Film Festival

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