World on a Wire, tonight through Thursday, 7 pm, Northwest Film Forum

A high-priced focus group determined that PubliCola readers are nerds. So, I feel comfortable recommending the three-plus hour sci-fi movie that's playing at Northwest Film Forum this week.

Arty German filmmaker Werner Fassbinder's World on a Wire (Welt am Draht) was originally released as a hallucinatory thriller on German television in 1973. Human identity issues as they are complicated by computer technology and corporate power will be familiar to anyone who's read a 1960s Philip K. Dick novel; though World on a Wire (a computer cable wire hooked to your brain, if you're wondering) is based on a novel by a PKD contemporary, Daniel F. Galouye's 1964 dystopian set piece, Simulacron-3.

The action begins at the secretive IKZ corporation, the Institute for Cybernetics and Future Science, and makes its way—with a buzzing Brian Eno-meets-Marlene Dietrich soundtrack—through mirrored '70s sex clubs, mod newspaper offices, and palatial Space Odyssey apartments to a "shattering discovery" about the human race. There are also Corvettes and mysterious disappearances (computer programmers have the power to "delete" you.)

My favorite thing about the movie is this: The gig is up after a clever newspaper editor asks his correspondent for a follow-up story on the fabricated story in question.

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