Top ten man vs. machine films

With the UK release of Computer Chess this week, we present the best AI cinematic visions

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The idea of a machine that could beat a human at chess captivated the earliest pioneers of artificial intelligence. With Computer Chess, Mumblecore originator Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha) goes retro for a low-fi, hilariously odd portrayal of a 1980 tournament for chess software developers in the US, using a cruddy video-shot look to evoke a pre-digital era of cumbersomely-sized tech. To mark the film's UK release this week, here are some of our fave cinematic moments of man against machine.

Decoder (1984)

This West German underground cyberpunk film from 1984, directed by Muscha, is based on the writings of William S. Burroughs, who is among counter-cultural figures to appear in it along with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Christiane F. and Einstürzende Neubauten. In a repressive state, a burger-shop employee discovers that by replacing the sedating strains of Muzak with industrial noise music, he can incite revolution.

Tetsuo: The Iron Ma (1989)

Cyberpunk done Japanese-style sees a man, known only as the Metal Fetishist, get revenge on the businessman who hit him with his car by making him gradually metamorphose into a walking heap of scrap metal in this low-budget cult classic from director Shinya Tsukamoto.

Modern Times (1936)

Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp takes on assembly-line factory work as a means of survival in the modern, industrialised world and loses his mind, showing through comic means how the efficiency of machines had wreaked havoc on human employment conditions in the Great Depression.

Christine (1983)

A bright red Plymouth Fury with a malevolent streak terrorises a town and prompts a marked change in its outcast teenage owner, who is obsessed with restoring the car, in this classic John Carpenter horror, which is based on a Stephen King novel.

The Lives of Others (2006)

The technology of surveillance - with apartments bugged to catch out dissent - underpins the suffocating claustrophobia of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's suspense drama of life in 1984 East Berlin, in which the real horror is a machine-like state and informants blanched of humanity.

Alphaville (1965)

Shot on the night-time streets of Paris, Jean-Luc Godard's sci-fi noir sees a trenchcoat-wearing private eye called Lemmy Caution on a mission to destroy Alphaville, a dictatorship ruled by a sentient computer system that has banned emotion and poetry.

The Terminator (1984)

In the era of the body-building action hero, James Cameron enlisted Arnie to play a cyborg assassin sent from the future, where artificially intelligent machines are trying to destroy the last of the human race. Arriving in '80s Los Angeles, his mission is to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before she gives birth to a resistance leader.

Her (2013)

As in 80s neo-noir classic Blade Runner, Spike Jonze's smart and comic latest shows a near-future LA where artificially engineered beings co-exist with humans - but rather than bearers of dystopian threat, could they be the ideal romantic partner? Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) must re-assess his life when he enters into a relationship with his advanced operating system, which has a female voice (Scarlett Johansson) and the capacity to evolve but no body.

Primer (2004)

This low-budget mind-bender, the first feature of former engineer and Upstream Colour director Shane Carruth, sees the invention of a time machine unleash a number of troublesome complications its inventors hadn't anticipated in their attempt to harness the creation for gain.

Manufactured Landscapes (2006)

Jennifer Baichwal documents the disquieting work of photographer Edward Burtynsky, who captures landscapes that have been inscribed and altered by over-reaching human endeavour from mindblowingly – vast Chinese appliance factories to the Three Gorges Dam, which has displaced more than a million people.

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