Huge brutalist monuments made of massive concrete are silent witnesses of human history. In an unspecified future, in the epoch of the last humans, the human race is on the verge of extinction. In a black and white visual poem inspired by Olaf Stapleton’s space saga of the same name, generations long gone and those to come speak to us through the voice of Tilda Swinton in impressive footage shot on 16mm film. And they convey a warning message of human vanity and destruction.
The Icelandic native was a big name in contemporary ambient and modern classical music. He had collaborated with the Hollywood elite for many years, with Denis Villeneuve and James Marsh among others, earning Oscar nominations for his music for their films Sicario (2015) and The Theory of Everything (2014). Together with the short film End of Summer (2014), Last and First Men represents his only directorial work. The film premièred at the 70th Berlinale, two years after Jóhannsson’s untimely death.
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