Tilda Swinton’s voice echoes back coolly from billions of years hence in Jóhann Jóhannsson’s brief essay on humanity’s future destiny
Two years after the death of the Icelandic film composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, his only movie as director has become available in the UK on streaming platforms. It is a 70-minute cine-novella or essay film: a meditation on humanity’s future existence and what it means, or will mean, to be posthuman.
The score is by Jóhannsson, working with sound artist and composer Yair Elazar Glotman, and this eerie, breathy soundtrack works well with its unearthly images. Last and First Men is inspired by the 1930 novel of the same name by British SF author William Olaf Stapledon, narrated by a figure from humanity’s final evolutionary form billions of years in the future. This voice is performed with crisp lack of affect by Tilda Swinton.