Seed Time: SILENT RUNNING (1972) on 35mm: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Seed Time: SILENT RUNNING (1972) on 35mm

An man in a space suit stares out at the cosmos from within a terrarium-like landscape
7 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Fri March 29, 2024
7 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


Seed Time: SILENT RUNNING (1972) on 35mm




Directed by visual effects master Douglas Trumbull (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, BLADE RUNNER), SILENT RUNNING was a prescient and unique entry in the run of cautionary ecological-themed science fiction films of the 1970s. Here, instead of mutated or rampaging members of the animal kingdom, the focus is on fauna and one man’s desperate attempt to save the surviving species that had once flourished on a now-plant barren Earth. Bruce Dern plays Freeman Lowell, a botanist on one of several cargo spaceships stationed near Saturn that house giant greenhouses for a freighter megacorporation. When he and his fellow crew members are ordered to destroy their cargo, Lowell takes radical steps to ensure the survival of his precious specimens. The film has become a cult favorite over the years, buoyed by a strong performance by Dern, a thoughtful and quirky screenplay (by DEER HUNTER director Michael Cimino and television producer Steven Bochco), three engaging droids (Huey, Dewey, and Louie), and a soundtrack by musician and composer Peter Schickele ( P. D. Q. Bach), with songs sung by Joan Baez. Made during the height of American concerns around environmental degradation in the 1970s, SILENT RUNNING is both a time capsule and a prescient meditation on the relationship between human, plant, and artificial intelligence. 

Introduction by Irene Kim (PhD candidate in the English department at Northwestern).

Irene Kim is a PhD candidate in the English department at Northwestern. Her research focuses on figurations of air in post-1960s visual culture, literary works, architecture, art, and design, with an emphasis on Asian American cultural production.  



This event is part of the SEED TIME film series, a selection of films screening in Winter and Spring quarter 2024. 

Supported by the Sloan Foundation and the Coolidge Corner Cinema’s Science on Screen program, each of the screenings in the series invites viewers to observe poet William Blake’s proverb, “in seed time, learn,” through informative introductions and discussions with scientists, filmmakers, researchers, and archivists involved in cultivating and preserving seeds and films alike.

An initiative of the COOLIDGE CORNER THEATRE, with major support from the ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at