A war correspondent encounters an extra-terrestrial in Amman, Jordan in 1970

In September 1970, a British war correspondent (Paterson) is distracted from his coverage of the bloody conflict between Palestinians and Jordanians when he rescues a young lady (Tilda Swinton) from a PLO patrol. Simply named Friendship, she claims to be an extraterrestrial robot sent to Earth on a peace mission and accidentally diverted from her original destination, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Is she insane, a spy, or telling the truth?

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A Film by Peter Wollen, starring Tilda Swinton. Wollen’s film comes across as a two-set Dr Who for adults, complete with political, philosophical and more pettily personal problems; the use of the alien outsider’s way of seeing the world is perceptive and provocative, the plentiful ideas counterbalance the lack of extravagant spectacle. Best of all, the film displays a droll wit (Friendship viewing a typewriter as a distant cousin, or concocting a surreal thesis on the big toe’s importance in the oppression of women) and a surprising ability to touch the heart.

 

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