Berlinale: Programme

Film file


Dark City


As John Murdoch awakes one morning from uneasy dreams, he finds himself in a bathtub, transformed into a murderer of prostitutes. A doctor named Daniel P. Schreber calls to warn him about an ominous group known as the Strangers, and Murdoch flees into the night-time city in search of his memories; he remembers neither the crimes he has allegedly committed, nor his own past. With the help of his wife and the detective who is investigating him, Murdoch discovers a plot by extraterrestrial invaders – to try to uncover the secret of human individuality, the Strangers have turned the city into a “sleep laboratory”, where they manipulate people’s memories and change reality at will ... The world as a product of the will and a film citation. Dark City is a bravura turn that morphs the more fantastic part of early German film history into the reconstructed setting of a 1940s film noir. Motifs from Metropolis, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu merge as seamlessly with one another as human identities do in evoking the “terrors of a hitherto unknown kind” described by Daniel Paul Schreber (1842 – 1911), writing about his “nervous illness”.

Alex Proyas

USA / Australia 1998


100 min · Colour · 35 mm

Rating R16


Rufus Sewell
William Hurt
Kiefer Sutherland
Jennifer Connelly
Richard O‘Brien


Alex Proyas
Alex Proyas, Lem Dobbs, David S. Goyer, based on an idea by Alex Proyas
Director of Photography
Dariusz Wolski
Dov Hoenig
Trevor Jones
Ian McLoughlin, Roger Savage
Production Design
George Liddle, Patrick Tatopoulos
Special Effects
David Pride, David Young
Art Director
Richard Hobbs, Michelle McGahey
Liz Keogh
Lesley Vanderwalt
Andrew Mason, Alex Proyas

Produced by

Dark City Productions, Ltd

Copy: Warner Bros. Pictures Germany, Hamburg