Nobody captures the dystopian scènes à faire like the Irish, and Samuel Beckett is one of the best. Beckett is probably most well known for Waiting for Godot, but the collaboration between Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Channel 4, and the Irish Film Board adapting several of Beckett’s shorts as films first aired in 2001. The project, Beckett on Film, was prohibitively expensive for even the wealthiest of our members, but a well written request to a library in North-Central Florida put the entire series at our fingertips. Until recently, however, our favorite shorts were not available online.

Play, set in the barren landscape of Beckett’s devastatingly rendered purgatory, witnesses the three corners of a love triangle repeating their stories as quickly as possible to satiate a spotlight that fixates on each of them in turn. This adaption is faithful to Beckett’s stage directions, repeating itself so quickly that a casual observer might not recognize the eternal loop implied by the characters’ repetition.

The late Alan Rickman is at his finest delivering some of Beckett’s more memorable lines such as, “adulterers take warning, never admit,” and “she had a razor in her vanity bag.” Nearly every line in this dense piece is worth digesting. Beckett rewards multiple readings, and this adaptation rewards multiple viewings.


Although the short film Sunspring is more s.f. than dystopian, it belongs here because of its author, Benjamin.  I suspect that the last thing a truly terrifying artificial intelligence would do is let us know that it exists.  It would probably spend more time learning to hack our brains to distort reality.  The two humans who created Benjamin, which named itself and ensured a victory at the annual film festival Sci-Fi London by voting for itself 36,000 times per hour, fed Benjamin a list of scripts from a variety of s.f. films and television shows.  The resulting short film and what it teaches us about the scènes à faire for the genre should not be ignored.

Watch the full short film here.