What was this 70s sci-fi thing?
January 7, 2009 2:47 PM Subscribe
Does anyone remember this not-at-all-easily-googled 70s sci-fi film?
posted by el_lupino to media & arts (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I saw a fragment of this as a kid 30 years ago and have never been able to figure out what it was. (Such "lost" things were the subject of holiday conversation, for whatever reason.) I saw this maybe-film, maybe-TV-movie on PBS. There's a young-ish guy (20s-30s iirc) who has discovered a strange ability to determine the nature of the world around him via dreaming. If he goes to sleep and dreams of something, when he wakes up it will be as he dreamed it, and - here's what seems distinctive - it will always have been so. So if he dreams that, say, the capital of Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh, when he wakes up, the capital of PA is Pittsburgh, and it always was. The governor, bureaucrats and buildings don't get up and move over night, he just awakes in a world that has and always had those features and only he realizes that he has made it so.
A scientist starts to do research with him and with the help of some technology, they are better able to guide his dreaming. The scientist suggests that he dream that they have an institute and a huge research budget at a major university. (I did not realize the genius of this as a child, but as an academic, I do.) But he's living in an overcrowded city with endless traffic and hassle, and in a fit of anger, he dreams of a world thinned out by disease. He wakes up and is one of only a handful left.
I don't know how it ends and came in after it began, so no clues there. It was certainly less driven by fantasy and special effects than most sci-fi since Star Wars and it was presented as a very earthbound, present-day sort of piece. Anyone in the hivemind have any ideas?