still from 2001: a baby in a glowing corona looks on at the edge of a planet in the darkness of space

Two Nerds was contacted by a friend of ours recently who put in some requests for podcat subjects. On the list were some titles we’d already tackled, like Another Earth and Shane Carruth’s Primer, and some we hadn’t yet, like Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. This got us thinking about movies which are mindbenders: often high concept, maybe a little arthouse, and definitely out to blow your mind. Science fiction can be especially fruitful for mindbending, as it allows the artist latitude to mess with reality itself, to present extreme circumstances and and mine them for their philosophical possibilities.

Rather than retread old ground, we took as our subject two mindbenders we hadn’t discussed yet: 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Shane Carruth’s second film, Upstream Color. (We also watched 2010, but I wouldn’t call that one a mindbender.) We definitely make mention of Aronofsky’s The Fountain a bunch, as that’s a mindbender both of us keep coming back to (even though objectively it’s a pretty infuriating movie?)

Either way, prepare to have your mind blown.

Author: Ceridwen

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