Last and First Men
‘Listen patiently… We, who are the Last Men, earnestly desire to communicate with you.’ Existence has always been precarious. Humanity might have been exterminated by some slight alteration to its chemical environment, by a more than usually malignant microbe, by a radical change of climate, by the manifold effects of its own folly, or by some celestial event.
The first and final feature film directed by the Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (1969–2018) is a poetic allegory of the concepts of memory, ideals and the destruction of a utopia. Tilda Swinton, an unnamed narrator, reads the text of the science fiction novel by writer and philosopher Olaf Stapledon. Futuristic and mysterious stone monuments, once erected in the Balkans to call for brotherhood and unity, are the lone witnesses to the disappearing civilization. A black-and-white harbour for thoughts about yourself and others as an immensely short musical composition. The work was completed after the death of its author.
Foreword by the programme curator: A poetic and moving conversation of sound and monuments in Tilda Swinton's meditation on the possible end of humanity.