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Low-Flying Aircraft (2002)

Aparelho Voador a Baixa Altitude (original title)
Based on a the short story "Low Flying Aircraft" by J.G. Ballard and set in a near future where humans are dying breed. Judite and André flee to a semi-abandoned apartment complex to protect their mutant child from certain death.


Solveig Nordlund


J.G. Ballard (story), Solveig Nordlund | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Margarida Marinho ... Judite
Miguel Guilherme ... André
Rui Morisson ... Dr. Gould (as Rui Morrison)
Rita Só Rita Só ... Carmen
Canto e Castro Canto e Castro ... Sr. Ferreira
Ismael Lourenço Ismael Lourenço ... Gaston
Sheila Buchanan Sheila Buchanan ... Vilma
María Duarte Pereira María Duarte Pereira ... Joy
Fernanda Duarte Fernanda Duarte ... Cindy
José Pinto ... The Plumber
Isabel de Castro ... Srª Ferreira
Jonathan Weightman Jonathan Weightman ... Voice of Van Dorm (voice)
Rafaela Santos Rafaela Santos ... Pregnant Woman
Carlos Santos Carlos Santos ... Police Officer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Almeida David Almeida


Based on a the short story "Low Flying Aircraft" by J.G. Ballard and set in a near future where humans are dying breed. Judite and André flee to a semi-abandoned apartment complex to protect their mutant child from certain death.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Thriller | Sci-Fi


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Portugal | Sweden


Portuguese | English

Release Date:

10 May 2002 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

Aparato volador a baja altura See more »

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User Reviews

Ignore the low score, this is solid art-house sci-fi.
10 September 2012 | by TchoutoyeSee all my reviews

If you like art-house sci-fi films, then this J.G. Ballard adaptation is definitely worth checking out. As a Ballard fan I started watching this with low expectations but found myself pleasantly surprised.

The story is set in a dystopian future, in which human populations are dwindling fast because almost all babies become mutants and are thus either aborted or post-natally disposed of. It's Sci-Fi, but refreshingly devoid of techno-gadgetry. The plot's theme has a hint of Eraserhead (Ballard's story was published a year before David Lynch's film was released), whereas stylistically it resembles Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville and Weekend, or perhaps Fassbinder's World on a Wire. I wouldn't recommend this film to the average fan of space opera.

The film was made on a low budget and the plot and style were kept simple. But in my opinion this only works to the film's advantage. Ballard's work deals a lot with the impact of visual culture, for fetishistic and ritualistic purposes rather than any commercial motive. Personally I associate this aspect with the raw look of a low-tech production, rather than with glamorous, Hollywood-style cinematography. That's why I find "Aparelho Voador a Baixa Altitude" truer to the Ballardian world than David Cronenberg's Crash.

The film makes good use of the strong source material. The director is very familiar with Ballard's work (she interviewed the writer 16 years prior to making this film) and she intuitively knows how to visualize his world. There's plenty of beautiful Ballardian architecture for instance.

It's a little strange at first to watch a Ballard adaptation in Portuguese, but this does not detract from the film. There are even one or two comedic moments. The acting is overall quite decent, if I'm not mistaken the main actress won a Portuguese Golden Globe.

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