Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Fugitive Futurist

The Fugitive Futurist is a silent short from 1924, made available by the BFI via Youtube. Cast in the same mould as H.G. Wells' time-traveller, the fugitive of the title reveals to us the secret of his prophetic visions by way of a magic camera.

Opening a window onto the future, these visions include Trafalgar Square submerged in water, the fashionable 1920s Strand boarded up and littered with 'To Let' signs, an airship platform on top of Westminster and high speed trains whizzing across Tower Bridge.

While the camera's inventor turns out to be an escapee from the local asylum, the film's French director Gaston Quiribet may have been onto something with his images of high speed rail lines and famous landmarks flooded by rising sea levels. As BFI curator Simon McCallum wonders, 'could this be a prophetic glimpse of our great capital's fate?'

To find out more about the BFI National Archive visit 

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