The Mechanical Bride – A Film Homage to Marshall McLuhan’s Book



The desire to bring the perfect artificial woman to life is as old as Pygmalion, but new technologies are making its realization ever more likely. Limning the border between fantasy and reality, this provocative and eye-opening documentary journeys from the outer limits of science fiction—visiting classic scenes of fembots in film and television—to the state of the art in artificial companions—from life-sized silicone love dolls to humanoid robots.

At its heart are the stories of men who keep the dream of artificial love alive: Davecat, the goth doll owner who likes nothing better than taking his silicone girlfriend to the cemetery; Slade, the “Realdoll Doctor” who runs a “hospital” for broken love dolls; Chris, the robot builder whose business plans include offering replacement spouses to bereft widowers; Michael, the German “Creator,” a self-described mad scientist attempting to build the most advanced sexual android in the world; Sorayama, the well-known Japanese artist whose “sexy robot and gynoid” pin-ups have graced numerous walls and rock album covers; and others, both strange and strangely familiar.

Narrated by screen icon and former television android Julie Newmar, The Mechanical Brideis a smart, funny, and deeply human look at the “cluster image of sex, technology, and death” on which media scholar Marshall McLuhan commented over a half century ago in his book of the same name.


Hot Docs [Toronto] is just around the corner and this year Subtle Technologies is excited to be co-presenting  one of the films in the festival.  Allison de Fren’s Mechanical Bride ( an homage to Marshall Mcluhan’s book )  explores the cultural desire to design the perfect artificial woman. The film travels from the classic early science fiction images of the fembot to the present day reality of the love doll industry which is embracing the latest technologies in terms of robotics and material science . The film takes an intimate  look at both the customers and makers in this industry.

The documentary evolved out of the research Allison De Fren did for her dissertation. “The Exquisite Corps : Disarticulations of the Artificial Female”explored representations of artificial female bodies, from the Renaissance to the present. De Fren’s fascination with men who build artificial women was sparked when she worked as an interactive digital designer with mostly male roboticists at a Silicon Valley “think tank.”

The film plays :
Sun, Apr 29 11:30 PM at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Mon, Apr 30 9:00 PM at the Cumberland 3 Cinema
Sun, May 6 9:00 PM at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Tickets for Mechanical Bride are available on the Hot Doc website here.

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