FILM / Rushes

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The Independent Culture
Seventy-five New Yorkers saw the future last Wednesday night. And it did as it was told. The Manhattanites were witnessing the premiere of the world's first 'interactive' movie. Entitled I'm Your Man, the 20- minute film allowed them to choose from 68 plot-lines and to determine characters' fates and the film's ending.

'For 85 years, movies have told people to sit down, be quiet and watch,' said Bob Bejan, who developed the idea with his partner, Bill Franzblau. 'This is the first thing that says, 'Don't just sit there]' '

Duly galvanised, viewers argued among themselves over the choices flashed on the screen at designated plot junctures. Each seat was outfitted with a pistol grip with three buttons so viewers could vote, the outcome being determined by a majority decision. Results were instantly tallied and displayed on the screen, and the film moved ahead in the chosen direction.

Bejan, a former dancer, TV jingle writer and commercials director, described the plot as a 'boy-meets-girl story that gets a little wacky'. He claims to have developed the concept as a way for uptight, computer-bound yuppies to interact.

'It's a social game,' he said. 'Everything in the technology of our culture has made us isolationist. It's great that we've progressed to the point where you can be alone in your little cubicle in this zone where no one can get to you. But it's also good to connect]' Bejan is touring the film to seven US cities, but sadly has no plans as yet to bring I'm Your Man to Britain.

Six tanks, 10 military trucks and 2,000 troops appeared on the streets of Bangkok last week, much to the concern of the city's inhabitants, several of whom phoned the Bangkok Post to inquire whether another coup was in the offing. Thailand has been plagued by military coups since 1932 when absolute monarchy was abolished. Many of these political upheavals have been heralded by the presence of tanks rumbling through the streets of Bangkok. The Post didn't state whether the startled citizens were disposed to see the funny side when they realised it was just old Oliver Stone filming Heaven and Earth, the final part of his 'Vietnam' trilogy.