Cult psychedelic sci-fi odyssey Beyond the Black Rainbow has divided critics and audiences, attracting outspoken champions and derisive naysayers in roughly equal numbers. Sufficed to say it is quite unlike anything else featuring eye catching retro-futurist production design, a pulsating analogue synth soundtrack and trippy visuals that make 2001 seem like The King’s Speech. Deep within the mysterious Arboria Institute, a beautiful girl Eva is held captive by a scientist, Dr. Barry Nyle where her mind is controlled by a sinister technology.
Director Panos Cosmatos spent his early formative years traveling all over the globe before settling in Canada. In 1981, the family lived for a year in Mexico where exposure to the strange local interpretations of American pop culture had a profound and lasting effect on his creative life. Growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver Island, he obsessed over the minutiae of heavy metal, fantasy art, and science fiction horror.
I wasn’t allowed to watch R-rated films when I was a kid, but when we’d go to the video store on the corner, a mom and pop shop called Video Attic, I’d obsessively look at all the horror movie video tapes. I was mesmerized by the lurid box covers and the vivid descriptions on the back. So I’d imagine, in great detail, my own versions of these movies without having ever seen them. That was one of the key inspirations for the film. The idea of making one of those imagined movies. The mood of the film is my memory of how the late 70’s and early 80’s felt to me. Both the reality and the fantasy world of the pop culture I would immerse myself in. I think in making it I was trying to grasp something intangible. It’s a nostalgic movie, but it’s a poisoned nostalgia.
Panos Cosmatos, Director
Recommended rating: Cert 18.