It’s 2808 and the future looks bleak. The streets of Odeo city are dominated by a shadowy totalitarian state. Our anti-heroes are cyber criminals turned bounty hunters who are forcibly conscripted by local police to apprehend other lawbreakers in return for reduced prison sentences. 

Earlier this month, Cine Móvil – which calls itself a “mobile cinema spreading revolutionary culture” – put on a free screening of episodes from the cyberpunk noir landscape of the ‘90s anime series Cyber City Oedo 808 at Wonderville, on Broadway. Afterward, audience members and organizers alike actively discussed its themes and, more broadly, the role of alternative media in advancing social and technological critiques.

An attendee and professional animator who went by the name of Geo used the occasion to reflect on the link between the anime’s low budgets and its subversive messaging, explaining “that large productions have less and less room to take creative risks” while “so often stuff that’s smaller has a more independent message.”  

Cine Móvil’s choice of Wonderville was similarly intended to demonstrate how alternative media can spark dialogue around contemporary political issues. The bar offers an arcade of free indie video games which one of the members of the collective – who goes by A. – interpreted, along with Cyber City Oedo 808, as an alternative to “NFTs and the privatization of everything” which is “a necessary feature of a dystopian cyberpunk future.” 

Stills from the ‘90s anime series Cyber City Oedo 808. At least one person who caught the series playing at Wonderville this month used the occasion to reflect on the link between anime’s low budgets and its subversive messaging.

Another organizer, who goes by AV, highlighted the use of local context in Cine Móvil’s curatorial decisions, telling Bushwick Daily, “we’re always looking for ways to connect back to the actual struggles of oppressed, racialized people in the places where we’re bringing the films.” 

Cine Móvil will continue to organize these screenings around the city in addition to publishing its own film criticism and anti-capitalist manifestos – most recently, they put out a critical analysis of the Oscar-nominated movie Don’t Look Up on Medium. The group’s next event is happening at 6:30pm on Saturday, March 26th at Life World (149 12th Street, over in Gowanus) where they will screen Lemonade Joe, a 1964 parody of the American Western that came from communist Czechoslovakia. 

Keep up with Cine Móvil’s listings on their Instagram page.

All images courtesy of Cine Móvil.

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