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Ghost in the Shell

It found a Voice... Now it needs a Body 

Year: 1995 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Mamoru Oshii 
Starring: Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Otsuka, Iemasa Kayumi  
An image from Ghost in the Shell

Buy Tickets on the SU Website:
19:30 Thursday 20th June 2024


This sci-fi anime classic is set in the dystopian New Port City where body modifications have become extreme: incorporating computer technology and cybernetic parts, a main achievement being the development of the ‘cyberbrain’ which allows the human brain to access the internet and other networks. The story follows the character of Maj. Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg federal agent who is tasked with pursuing “The Puppet Master”, who she suspects is hacking into the modified brains of cyborg-human hybrids and altering their identities. This pursuit forces the character to question her own existence and the differences between human and cyborgs. Director Mamoru Oshii sets this film apart as he notes “There are only a few movies, even in Hollywood, which clearly portray the influence and power of computers.” He masterfully portrays technology through the use of animation and has created an enduring legacy that was far ahead of its time. The film uses a combination of cell animation and computer animation (CG) known as digitally generated animation (DGA) which gives the film its distinct look, this process was relatively novel at the time and was considered to be the future of animation; both on screen and behind the scenes, Ghost in the Shell created waves with its ingenuity and style. The film has stood the test of time, still holding a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and a solid 4.1 on Letterboxd. Having inspired Hollywood classics such as The Matrix and The Fifth Element, Ghost in the Shell is definitely well worth a watch. And with a complex plot that carries themes of consciousness and AI, it is a great film to rewatch on the big screen.

Marnie McCrudden

In the year 2029, the world is made borderless by the net; augmented humans live in virtual environments, watched over by law enforcement that is able to download itself into super-powered 'mechs' (robots). The ultimate secret agent of the future is an artificial intelligence program. It has no physical body, and can freely travel the information highways of the world, hacking and manipulating any computer system and thus effect anything in this computer-controlled world.

The agent, created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is designated code name Project 2501, and distanced from them under the pseudonym "The Puppet Master." 2501 seems to be the perfect solution to their international espionage requirements, and everything runs smoothly until this prototype virtual agent concludes it is a life form in its own right and requests political asylum and true physical existence.

The race is on to recapture the Top Secret Project 2501 before it succeeds in finding a host body and escapes for good. What the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hasn't counted on is the Puppet Master's cunning and reserve. It has threatened to expose their illegal creation (itself) to the Internal Bureau of Investigations who are unaware of its source, and regard the Puppet Master as a Grade A priority security threat. The two agencies work against one another in a violent, high-tech race to capture the ever changing omnipresent Puppet Master.

The Internal Bureau is unaware of the Puppet Master's attempts to 'seduce' and recruit their part-cybernetic, part-human agents, who are forced to question their own validity as human beings. One of these agents, Major Motoko Kusanagi, is a highly trained female agent sent to counter the Puppet Master's threat.

While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are engaged in direct explosive confrontation, Kusanagi must decide if she will remain loyal to her objective, or take the chance to become truly human.

David Hook

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Screenings of this film:

1999/2000 Summer Term (35mm)
2023/2024 Summer Term (digital)