Dark City

01/01/1998View on timeline

Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland, and Rosemary Traynor in Dark City (1998)


Dark City (1998) takes a similar approach. A race of Strangers has invaded the Earth. Once a day, they carry out “tuning,” an operation in which they stop everything, make everybody lose consciousness, and refashion a Metropolis-like artificial city; they then change people’s identities by “imprinting them,” that is, injecting other individuals’ memories into their brains.


The manipulations are carried out by a human doctor, Daniel P. Schreber, the namesake of the German judge on whose memoirs Sigmund Freud based his 1911 monograph on paranoia. With a syringe, the doctor first extracts memory fluids through people’s foreheads. He mixes them—the painful memory of a great love, a dose of unhappy childhood, youthful rebellion, a death in the family—and injects the preparation into other individuals. The resulting people look just as they did before imprinting but have different memories. So who are they?

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....

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Dark City on IMDb

Watch the trailer and a scene from the movie:
Dark City (1998) Official Trailer - Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland Sci-Fi Movie HD
Dark City - First Encounter with the Strangers
To understand the reference to Daniel Paul Schreber, you can read his memoir and the essay by Sigmund Freud. 
Book cover

About the book

In 1884, the distinguished German jurist Daniel Paul Schreber suffered the first of a series of mental collapses that would afflict him for the rest of his life. In his madness, the world was revealed to him as an enormous architecture of nerves, dominated by a predatory God. It became clear to Schreber that his personal crisis was implicated in what he called a “crisis in God’s realm,” one that had transformed the rest of humanity into a race of fantasms. There was only one remedy; as his doctor noted: Schreber “considered himself chosen to redeem the world, and to restore to it the lost state of Blessedness. This, however, he could only do by first being transformed from a man into a woman….” - NYRB

Memoirs of My Nervous Illness on NYRB

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About the book

The Schreber Case is distinctive from the other case histories in that it's based on the memoirs of a conjectural patient. Schreber was a judge and doctor of law who lived according to a strict set of principles. His nervous illness first manifested itself as hypochondria and insomnia - which he put down to his excessive workload - but gradually deteriorated into pathological delusion. Believing himself to be dead and rotting, Schreber attempted suicide, and then went on to experience bizarre delusional epsiodes whereby he belived he was being turned into a woman. The course of this extraordinary illness is analysed by Freud in his search for a root cause - could it have been caused by homesexual impulses that Schreber tried to repress? - Penguin Books

The Schreber Case on Penguin Books

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Published in 12/03/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

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