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The USSR Animated Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains”

Though you’d think that an oppressive government that controlled all media would be bad for artistic creativity, the Soviet Union proved that this wasn’t always the case. Films of great ingenuity came out of the cinema mills of the USSR, and the explanation was always the same: while cinema of certain political sensibility must need be turned away, the lack of commercial viability made up for it. Films did not have to make a profit to be made.

Uzbekfilm’s trippy adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s short story "There Will Come Soft Rains" is a perfect example of the rule. Animated in the surreal and languid style of Fantastic Planet, "There Will Come" tells the story of an automated house that goes through the paces of caring for its inhabitants, despite the fact that a nuclear war has long since killed them.

Knowing this comes from the USSR lends some creepy philosophical sensib ility to the narrative: the cluelessness of the central computer as it unwaveringly cares for its long-dead protectors makes sentient, autonomous flesh just another cog in machine. And take careful note of how the dove that flies into the room ultimately causes the crucifix to be destroyed by the machine. Meaningful, indeed.

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