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Science fiction has often been dismissed by cultural watchdogs as anodyne, low-brow trash deserving of its exile to cheap paperbacks and B-movies. Aided by this perception radical artists have long recognized the genre's potential as a medium for propaganda and veiled social commentary. Case in point — extraterrestrials in sci-fi films have frequently acted as surrogates for oppressive regimes, allowing filmmakers to get away with political agitation that would otherwise result in their being censored, imprisoned or thrown into the sea from a helicopter. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) celebrates this tradition of covert commentary with a screening of Roland Emmerich's 1996 underground classic Independence Day, a scathing, anti-imperialist satire in the tradition of William Klein's Mr. Freedom subversively packaged as a big dumb summer blockbuster. A masterpiece of détournement, ID4's dissection of the post-Cold War milieu continues to resonate with audiences thanks to its prescient depictions of global terrorism and timeless product placement gags. Tickets are $10; visit (P.S. Did You Know? In an instance of life imitating art, the team who orchestrated George W. Bush's 2003 Mission Accomplished jet landing were rumored to have been directly inspired by Bill Pullman's President Whitmore character in ID4.)
Fri., July 4, 7:30 p.m., 2014


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