‘Last And First Men’ Trailer: Tilda Swinton Narrates Sci-Fi Film From Late Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson

If you know the name Jóhann Jóhannsson then you know his music. The Icelandic composer was behind some of the best scores in recent memory, working often with Denis Villeneuve on Arrival, Sicario, and Prisoners. Sadly, his final two scores for Mandy and Mary Magdalene were released posthumously as he died suddenly in 2018. However, he managed to complete what would be his final feature film as a director, Last and First Men, which is finally being released next week.

Based on the 1930 sci-fi novel by Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men is a unique film, shot in black and white 16mm and narrated by Tilda Swinton. It charts the entire history of humanity from now to 2 billion years in the future, captured mainly in memorial structures of the former Yugoslavia. Jóhannsson provided the score, of course.

The film debuted at the Berlin Film Festival last year, where it received rave reviews. Sadly, the promise Jóhannsson showed will not be seen again, but at least we have his many film scores and this example of his talent behind the camera.

Last and First Men opens in select theaters and VOD on December 10th.

Two billion years in the future, humanity finds itself on the verge of extinction. Almost all that remains are lone, surreal monuments—the futuristic, solemn, Brutalist stone slabs erected during the communist era in the former Yugoslav republics, arrestingly photographed in luminous 16mm black-and-white. A stunning feature debut and final cinematic testament from the late composer and musician Jóhann Jóhannsson (Sicario, Arrival, Mandy) conjures a world of surreal and phantasmagorical monuments, once intended as symbols of unity and brotherhood, now abandoned beacons beaming their message into the wilderness. Based on the cult 1930 science fiction novel by British author Olaf Stapledon, with narration by Tilda Swinton, Last and First Men is a poetic, hopeful, and tragic work: an allegory of remembrance, ideals, and the death of Utopia.


Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.