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Unseen Forces (2004)

Unseen Forces (2004) is a hilarious sequence of vignettes from the history of science to Sagan's music. Sidestepping any expectations of high falutin' experimental art video in favor of ... See full summary »


Ryan Junell


Ryan Junell


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Credited cast:
Wobbly Wobbly ... Dr. Carl Sagan
Blevin Blectum Blevin Blectum ... Dr. Marie Curie
M.C. Schmidt M.C. Schmidt ... Empedocles
Drew Daniel Drew Daniel ... Pausanias
David Cerf David Cerf ... Johannes Kepler
Ryan Junell Ryan Junell ... Tycho Brahe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Erin Bradley Erin Bradley ... Inspired Show Goer
Lance Grabmiller Lance Grabmiller ... Show Goer #1
Angie Hile Angie Hile ... Show Goer #2
Lesser J. Lesser J. ... Dr. Pierre Curie
Brian L. Perkins Brian L. Perkins ... Dismayed Show Goer


Unseen Forces (2004) is a hilarious sequence of vignettes from the history of science to Sagan's music. Sidestepping any expectations of high falutin' experimental art video in favor of slapstick narrative, these wryly subtitled re-enactments of important historical breakthroughs come off as a weird hybrid of Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" and Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains the Same". Commencing with a turtlenecked Carl Sagan lookalike invoking the sun, Junell's film proceeds to romp anachronistically across history in a playful homage to "Cosmos": The Big Bang is restaged by a flashlight-wielding modern dance troupe (played by real life astronomy buffs recruited online), whose cosmic choreography goes largely unnoticed by their glib, uncomprehending audience. The Greek Rationalist discovery that air is a substance is refigured as a gay pick up technique in an ice cream parlour, with Matmos' M. C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel playing Empedocles and Pausanias. In the final ... Written by Anonymous

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Plot Keywords:

science | cosmos | reason | logic | See All (4) »


Music | Short







Release Date:

3 December 2004 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The short film was initially released on DVD along with a CD of the same name on the Matmos-owned label Vague Terrain. See more »

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User Reviews

Sagan's first DVD release is a strong one
30 December 2004 | by smithcoreySee all my reviews

Unseen Forces, a 40 minute accompaniment to most of Bay Area electro-smash band, Sagan's live shows nowadays, encompasses four sketches of loosely based scientific events. Stories include the big bang theory, Pausanias and Empedocles, Kepler and Lord Brahe, and the courtship of the Curies. A mix of fact and fiction, these four mini-films involve scientific topics all the while having a fun time. For example, the third section of music is comprised of a pissing contest between one great mind (Kepler) and a gluttonous idiot (Brahe, played by director Ryan Junell) in order to retrieve scientific data. Quite amusing. While this story plays out, the conversations are subtitled, and there's a 70's glitchtronica beat that never keeps still, haunting the air. I enjoyed this film. It had a genre bending quality, covering science, comedy, music video, pantomime, even the style of overdubbed kung-fu movies where the actors' mouths never sync up with what they're saying. The film tries to bring the music of the band, Sagan, to a broader audience, taking the route of laying all the info out rather than being a pretentious sci-fi audio-visual experience, although the beginning and ends seem to fit that way somewhat. All in all, Unseen Forces has transcended borders, reinterpreted historical events, and incorporated some amazing visuals to go with its music, all the while never really pointing its nose in the air at its viewers; it's science, not brain surgery, after all …

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