Watch Robinson in Space
- 1 hr 21 min
Robinson in Space is a 1997 British film written and directed by Patrick Keiller, and starring Paul Scofield. It is a sequel to Keiller's earlier film London (1994), and like that film, Robinson in Space explores the hidden histories of urban landscapes and the contradictions of contemporary British society. The film is narrated by Robinson (voiced by Scofield), a fictional character who travels around England in a van with his assistant, a camera operator named Eliza (played by Rebecca Palmer). Robinson is a researcher and writer, and he is on a mission to uncover the secrets and mysteries of modern British society. His research takes him to various locations, including industrial parks, shopping centers, and tourist attractions.
The film is structured as a series of loosely connected vignettes, each exploring a different aspect of British culture and society. There are scenes of Robinson interviewing workers in a shoe factory, discussing the history of a seaside resort town, and examining the role of advertising in contemporary culture. Throughout the film, Robinson's narration provides a critical commentary on the state of British society, with a particular focus on the negative effects of neoliberalism and globalization.
One recurring theme in the film is the idea of "progress" and its impact on the environment. Robinson is shown visiting various sites of environmental degradation, including an abandoned military base on the coast and a landfill site in the countryside. He reflects on the damage that human activity has done to the natural world, and the existential threat that climate change poses to future generations.
Another major theme in the film is the role of history in shaping contemporary British identity. Robinson is a keen observer of architecture and urban planning, and he frequently reflects on the ways that the built environment reflects broader social and political trends. He is particularly interested in the history of British imperialism, and he visits sites such as the Museum of Mankind to explore the legacy of colonialism.
Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of Robinson in Space is its visual style. Keiller is known for his use of static shots and long takes, and Robinson in Space features many scenes in which the camera remains fixed on a single location for several minutes. This creates a sense of stillness and contemplation that allows the viewer to meditate on the urban landscape in a way that is rarely seen in mainstream cinema.
The film also features a distinctive soundtrack, which features music by avant-garde composer Michael Nyman and ambient musician Brian Eno. The music is sparse and atmospheric, and it complements the film's mood of introspection and reflection.
Robinson in Space is a thought-provoking and poetic film that offers a sharp critique of contemporary British society. Its combination of intellectual inquiry and visual experimentation makes it a unique and challenging work of art. In a world that is increasingly dominated by mass media and commercial interests, Robinson in Space is a rare example of cinema that encourages us to slow down, look closely, and think deeply about the world around us.
Robinson in Space is a 1997 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 21 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2.