Conceiving Ada

Conceiving Ada

This unusual, thought-provoking film, part science fiction, part magical realism, introduces us to the fascinating historical figure of Ada Byron King, daughter of the famous (some would say infamous) British poet, Lord Byron. Ada, brought to wondrous life here by Tilda Swinton (Orlando), was a mathematical genius far ahead of her time, who developed the world's first computer language in the mid-19th century. She was precocious in other ways as well: her father's daughter, Ada was sexually promiscuous, a gambler, and an opium addict. In the film, modern-day genius Emmy Coer (Francesca Faridany), working on creating artificial life via the computer, becomes obsessed with Ada. Using her own DNA, Emmy is somehow able to channel Ada's memories and play them back on her computer screen. The two women leading parallel lives eventually become inextricably tied for all time. The movie may sound rather arcane, but its vibrantly female point of view renders it anything but dry. It actually makes mathematics seem marvelously sexy. The supporting cast adds to the film's distinctiveness: Timothy Leary (yes, the Timothy Leary, the LSD guru), is Sims, Emmy's spectral cybervision of a mentor, and the inimitable Karen Black appears as the mother of both Emmy and Ada. --Laura Mirsky

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

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