Since I saw Blade Runner back as a wee lad, I have been intrigued by Philip K Dick’s writing. While the film bore little semblance to the source material, ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,’ the film opened the door for me to the possibilities of psychological science fiction.
After investigating the novels of Philip K. Dick. I became engrossed in his distinctive world. The new film Radio Free Albemuth is based on the novel published after his death. The novel explores the experiences that PKS had with an otherworldly intelligence called VALIS which guided him from afar. The movie depicts the life of the frustrated owner of an ailing record shop who begins to have visions that bring him to a successful life in the recording industry. The visions also strip away the facade of the President Fremont’s fascist government. His good friend Phil, a pulp science fiction author, is along for the ride and the journey leads into an ugly unveiling of the world they live in.
As I watched Radio Free Albemuth, I was reminded by the influence that PKD’s writing had on Grant Morrison’s writing, specifically the Invisibles and the Doom Patrol. The notion that there are multiple realities and the one we are living in is a dark violent one resonated for me as kid and as an adult the fantasy that a higher alien intelligence is watching from afar is appealing. The final line of Morrison’s Animal Man run comes to mind ‘there is another world. A better one… there has to be, right?’ (I’m paraphrasing)
The film is relatively low-fi and had a limited direct digital distribution. It’s currently on Netflix and well worth a look.