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Year: 1993

Classification: PG

Runtime: 50 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Peter Jordan

Produced By: Sue Mathews

Language: English

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As long as humanity has made myths, it has made myths about the end of the world. Stories and legends of world destruction long precede the nuclear age.

This provocative film takes its title from Goya: "The Sleep of Reason brings forth monsters."

It leads the viewer on a journey through Western cultural history, presenting a remarkable array of images to discover how the dream, or nightmare, of the end of the world has developed over time and continues to hold us in its grip at the end of the twentieth century.

Using scenes from sci-fi movies of the 1950s, when the atomic nightmare erupted around the world in postwar popular culture, the film explores the heart of our fascination with disaster, in order to better understand, and deal with it.

The ideas of four on-screen commentators propel the journey - cultural philosopher George Steiner; psychoanalyst Robert Lifton; art historian Donald Kuspit; and film writer and historian Vivian Sobchack.

  • Winner of Best Documentary, Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) Awards, 1994
  • Gold Medal, 36th Annual New York International Media Competition

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