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Wednesday, Dec 20, 2017

Location: Redstone Theater

With screenwriter Jim Taylor and bioethicist S. Matthew Liao in person, moderated by Heather Berlin

Dir. Alexander Payne. 2017, 136 mins. DCP courtesy Paramount Pictures. With Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Rolf Lassgård, Laura Dern, Hong Chau, Jason Sudeikis, Christoph Waltz. The speculative new Alexander Payne film Downsizing is premised on a fascinating and plausible scientific theory: at five inches tall, the world’s resources would go a long way. Scientists have discovered how to shrink people in order to address over-population and help save the planet. Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to downsize in order to afford the kind of life they want. In real life, the desperate state of the planet has caused scientists to consider human engineering in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. Focusing on the science and philosophy behind Downsizing, a preview screening of the film will be followed by a discussion with Payne’s co-writer Jim Taylor (Sideways) and NYU’s Director of Bioethics S. Matthew Liao, moderated by Mount Sinai neuroscientist Heather Berlin.

Cinema Circle events are free for Museum members at the Film Lover level and above.

The event is at capacity. Some tickets may become available on standby to Museum members at the Film Lover level and above.

About the participants:

Jim Taylor is a writer and producer who has collaborated with Alexander Payne to write Election, About Schmidt, and Sideways. Taylor has won an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, and two Writers Guild Awards. His production company Ad Hominem has produced features such as The Descendants, Cedar Rapids, and Downsizing, which Taylor also co-wrote.

S. Matthew Liao is Director of of the Center for Bioethics and Professor of Philosophy at New York University. He studies ethical issues arising out of medical technologies, pharmaceuticals, and technology and privacy. He has written four books and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Moral Philosophy.

Heather Berlin is a cognitive neuroscientist and psychiatry professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai focusing on the neural basis of impulsive and compulsive disorders and possible treatments. Dr. Berlin co-hosts Startalk All-Stars with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. She co-wrote and stars in the acclaimed Off-Broadway show Off The Top about the neuroscience of improvisation.