Program Details

Movie Night: Cloud Atlas


December 20 / 7:30 PM - December 20 / 9:45 PM

An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.


This film follows the stories of six people's "souls" across time, and the stories are interweaved as they advance, showing how they all interact. It is about how the peoples' lives are connected with and influence each other.

The first storyline follows a lawyer named Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess) in the early 1800's, whose family is in the slave trade. He has been sent to the Pacific to arrange a contract for some Maori slaves with a slave trader from that area. During his return voyage home, Ewing saves the life of a native man named Autua (David Gyasi) who is a runaway slave stowing away on the ship.

The second storyline follows the tragically short life of a talented young wannabe composer in the 1930's named Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw) who finagles himself into a position aiding an aging composer, Vyvyan Ayrs (Jim Broadbent). While working for Ayrs, Robert Frobisher begins reading the published chronicle of Adam Ewing's journal which he has found among the many books at Ayrs's mansion. He never finishes reading the journal and it is unclear what effect it has on the creation of his own musical composition.

The third storyline is about a journalist in the 1970's named Luisa Rey (Halle Berry). She meets Rufus Sixsmith in a chance encounter while being stuck on a broken elevator. Sixsmith by now is now a renowned physicist. After leaving the elevator, Sixsmith later attempts to re-contact Rey and reveal that there is a conspiracy afoot to cover up a report about the flaws in the design of a nuclear power reactor. When she is about to meet-up with Sixsmith, she finds him just recently dead, an apparent suicide. Her journalistic instincts kick in, telling her there is more to the story than a man committing suicide, and she discovers that a report on the reactor written by Sixsmith can reveal the terrible secret.

The fourth storyline is a modern-day tale of Timothy Cavendish (Jim Broadbent), the owner of a small publishing company, who has published a small biographical book by a lowlife thug. While the book has literally no hope of making much, if any, money, this changes when the author-thug kills a critic of his book by throwing him off a balcony to his death. Suddenly the book has legs and Cavendish is rolling in money from royalties.

The fifth storyline is about Sonmi-451 (Donna Bae), a clone bred for work in a Papa's Song fast-food restaurant in Korea (now called Neo Seoul) in the far future. In this stark future, she lives in a day-to-day world, each day identical to the next, existing only to serve food to "consumers". But her limited life is revealed to be less than she is capable of when another of the clones inadvertently awakens her from her daily slumber. Sonmi-451 through chance, discovers a fragment of the biopic film of "The Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish" on a cell-phone/pda left at the Papa's Song fast-food restaurant. This film lays the seeds of the never-ending struggle against injustice.

The sixth and final storyline is about Zachry (Tom Hanks) who is a tribesman living in a low-tech post-apocalyptic Hawaii, 100 years after Neo Seoul has been swallowed by the sea. His people revere Sonmi and believe her to be holy. A member of a far more advanced group of people called the Prescients named Meronym (Halle Berry) asks to live with their tribe. Zachry's sister takes her in, and their relationship grows. Zachry is harboring his own secret, that he hid in cowardly shame while barbarians called the Kona killed his brother-in-law and his nephew. People suspect him, and he is largely an outcast, but his sister and his niece still accept and love him.

Finally, it's shown that Zachry has been telling his tale to a large group of children, and that he married Meronym, and that the offworld colonies heard their broadcast, and came to rescue the survivors... and that he and Meronym are on another world entirely.


Admission: Free

Go to San Francisco's website