Fifty years ago in a galaxy not so far away, a USC film student named George Lucas made a sci-fi short film for his university project called “Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB,” which launched a film career unlike any other.
Now, as the premiere of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” draws near, “Electronic Labyrinth” will get its digital premiere on the Facebook channel Dust.
Gunpowder & Sky’s burgeoning sci-fi brand Dust, which features sci-fi shorts from up and coming filmmakers, will release a new short every day from the USC School of Cinematic Arts leading up to Dec. 11, when “Electronic Labyrinth” makes its premiere.
The 1967 film follows a man named THX 1138 4EB, who attempts to escape a dystopian civilization while being pursued by the authorities. The short won the top prize at the National Student Film Festival, where a young Steven Spielberg was in attendance and was amazed by the film. Four years later, the short became the basis for Lucas’ feature-length debut “THX 1138,” starring Donald Pleasence and Robert Duvall.
“The dialogue seems half-heard, half-forgotten; people talk in a bemused way, as if the drugs had made them indifferent,” Roger Ebert wrote about the film. “Their words are suspended in a muted, echoing atmosphere in which only the computer-programmed recorded announcements seem confident. And the featureless whiteness of this universe stretches away into infinity, especially in the effective scene involving a prison with no walls: How can you escape from a prison that is simply an empty void?”
For more on the film and Dust’s upcoming sci-fi short films, check out its Facebook page here.