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The first promotional poster for Vincenzo Natali‘s adaptation of High Rise has been found online, along with a synopsis for the film. You can see them at the site of Capri Film, or at Quiet Earth where I first found them. Capri updating their site at this time suggests they prepared the material for the film market at Cannes.

The original novel High Rise was written by J G Ballard, the recently departed visionary of speculative and satirical fiction. In his career stacked high with nightmarish visions of humanity, this one ranked among the most frightening. You can see the poster above (nothing higher resolution is available) while the spoiler-free synopsis will follow the break.

According to the following, Natali has pinned down the location of the story to the midst of a great ocean. In the novel, this was not stated, though a filmmaker does not have the luxury of so easily disregarding what might be seen through the windows. A blessing and a curse.

In the midst of a vast ocean stands the Elysium Tower – a glistening vertical city – a sanctuary for challenging times.

Powered by sun and earth, designed by the greatest architectural visionary of the new millennium, Elysium is a self contained world. A world of commerce, cuisine and entertainment, featuring restaurants, swimming pools, libraries, cinemas, even a research hospital. It is not just the tallest and most technologically advanced work of modern architecture, but one that embodies the world’s highest aspirations.

Dr. Robert Laing, a new arrival, settles in and adjusts to this hermetic life. But before long he becomes aware of something unsettling in the building. In an escalating atmosphere of unrest the residents break into tribal factions. Laing watches in horror as the myth of a utopian society is shattered.

Natali made his debut with the audacious, delicious, indelible Cube and has since built up what is perhaps the most underrated body of work in modern cinema, definitely in the sci-fi and fantasy genre. His fourth feature film, the body horror Splice, is set for release later this year. That film stars Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley and I absolutely loved its screenplay. Can’t wait.

Ballard also wrote the novels The Atrocity Exhibition, Cocaine Nights, The Drowned World, The Burning World and The Crystal World, among many others. Previously, his Empire of the Sun was adapted into a feature film by Spielberg and his Crash was brought to the big screen by David Cronenberg. Currently, the Machinist team of Christian Bale, screenwriter Scott Kosar and director Brad Anderson are planning to reunite for an adaptation of Ballard’s Concrete Island.

I’d be very interested to find out more about Natali’s adaptation of High Rise. Apparently, Rudy Wurlitzer is also due a screenwriting credit, though it is possible his material will be from past drafts. Other writers to have taken a crack over the last 30 years or so include Paul Mayerbserg, who planned it as another collaboration with his The Man Who Fell to Earth director Nic Roeg.

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