Low-Flying Aircraft (2002)

  |  Thriller, Sci-Fi

Low-Flying Aircraft (2002) Poster

Based on a the short story "Low Flying Aircraft" by J.G. Ballard and set in a near future where humans are dying breed. Judite and André flee to a semi-abandoned apartment complex to protect their mutant child from certain death.


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10 September 2012 | Tchoutoye
| Ignore the low score, this is solid art-house sci-fi.
If you like art-house sci-fi films, then this J.G. Ballard adaptation is definitely worth checking out. As a Ballard fan I started watching this with low expectations but found myself pleasantly surprised.

The story is set in a dystopian future, in which human populations are dwindling fast because almost all babies become mutants and are thus either aborted or post-natally disposed of. It's Sci-Fi, but refreshingly devoid of techno-gadgetry. The plot's theme has a hint of Eraserhead (Ballard's story was published a year before David Lynch's film was released), whereas stylistically it resembles Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville and Weekend, or perhaps Fassbinder's World on a Wire. I wouldn't recommend this film to the average fan of space opera.

The film was made on a low budget and the plot and style were kept simple. But in my opinion this only works to the film's advantage. Ballard's work deals a lot with the impact of visual culture, for fetishistic and ritualistic purposes rather than any commercial motive. Personally I associate this aspect with the raw look of a low-tech production, rather than with glamorous, Hollywood-style cinematography. That's why I find "Aparelho Voador a Baixa Altitude" truer to the Ballardian world than David Cronenberg's Crash.

The film makes good use of the strong source material. The director is very familiar with Ballard's work (she interviewed the writer 16 years prior to making this film) and she intuitively knows how to visualize his world. There's plenty of beautiful Ballardian architecture for instance.

It's a little strange at first to watch a Ballard adaptation in Portuguese, but this does not detract from the film. There are even one or two comedic moments. The acting is overall quite decent, if I'm not mistaken the main actress won a Portuguese Golden Globe.

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Plot Summary


Thriller | Sci-Fi


Release Date:

10 May 2002


Portuguese, English

Country of Origin

Portugal, Sweden

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