Simon Jaquemet in the starting blocks with Electric Child
- The third feature film by the Swiss director tackles the topic of virtual reality
Despite the radical and unexpected influence the Covid-19 crisis has had on Simon Jaquemet’s projects - no casting, no location scouting, etc – his new film Electric Child which is produced by Zurich-based 8horses (in which Jaquemet is involved) and which scooped a Special Mention in the Berlinale’s Eurimages Co-Production Development Award competition, is ready and set to go.
Simon Jaquemet has made a name for himself amongst critics and audiences alike thanks to his acclaimed works War [+see also:
interview: Simon Jaquemet
film profile] (2014) and The Innocent [+see also:
interview: Simon Jaquemet
film profile] (2018), both of which were selected and won awards in numerous Swiss and international festivals, including, in the case of War, Berlin’s “Talent Project Market” 2013, San Sebastian (New Directors), the Locarno Film Festival and Karlovy Vary, and, in the case of The Innocent, the Toronto International Film Festival (Platform section), San Sebastian, the Locarno Film Festival, Thessaloniki and the Swiss Film Award for Best Actress. It was Jaquemet’s bold and captivating artistic inner world inhabited by complex characters wrestling with their inner demons which really helped the director make his mark. Following on from the success he enjoyed at the Berlinale Co-Production Market 2020, Simon Jaquemet is now about to embark upon the making of his latest feature film, Electric Child, a sci-fi tale unfolding in the present day and taking viewers on a surprising, intense and frightening journey which they won’t come out of unscathed.
Sonny and his wife Akiko are overcome with joy over the birth of their first child. IT specialist Sonny is working on a high-level project which consists of creating a new and complex lifeform using artificial intelligence. This AI lifeform lives confined on a virtual island. Thanks to the enthusiasm of Sonny’s team, it begins to develop unexpected powers and its growth seems unstoppable. When the life of Sonny and Akiko’s son is threatened by a rare disease affecting the nervous system, their lives take a tragic turn. The AI lifeform continues to develop, growing stronger and stronger, to the point that the government decides to put an end to the project. But Sonny’s son’ life hangs by a thread, and so Sonny decides to climb into the simulator to meet this artificial being. Here, he strikes a deal with the lifeform: he will help it to escape the confines of its artificial world in exchange for saving his son’s life. The consequences will prove fatal and will trigger a series of chain reactions which will change the world forever.
As Jaquemet explains, Electric Child portrays a young father grappling with two crucial events: the development of a scientific project with planetary repercussions and the illness of his son. This parallel between hyper-technology and human frailty raises crucial questions: what’s the difference between “human” life and artificial life? Are we really so very different from the artificial beings we’re creating? Jaquemet assures us that despite the complex nature of the story being told, the film will be “colourful and exuberant, influenced by genre films and manga”, all enriched by his own personal style which consists of “long tracking shots and fluctuating images”.
(Translated from Italian)
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