12  Monkeys

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA


Carl Zimmer

Award-Winning Science Journalist; Author

12 Monkeys— The History of Real Virus Outbreaks, and Possible Future Viruses

Virus outbreaks have long been portrayed in cinema, from The Andromeda Strain to Outbreak to Contagion. Is it pure fantasy to imagine an epidemic wiping out humanity? Or is it something we need to prepare for? Popular science writer Carl Zimmer answered these questions by looking at the history of real virus outbreaks and at cutting-edge research on previously unknown viruses that could potentially attack our species in the future.

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA

Film Synopsis

In a future world, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

In a post-apocalyptic future devastated by disease, convicted criminal James Cole (Bruce Willis) is given the chance to erase his record by traveling back to the past to investigate the origins of a virus that wiped out nearly all of the Earth's population decades earlier. But when Cole is mistakenly sent to the wrong year, he is arrested and hospitalized in a mental institution, where he meets a psychiatrist (Madeline Stowe), who is initially convinced he's insane, and a patient (Brad Pitt) with links to a radical group that may have unleashed the deadly virus. Part psychological thriller, part apocalyptic drama, Terry Gilliam's riveting drama combines intricate storytelling, visual ingenuity, and stellar performances.

About the Speaker

Carl Zimmer is a popular science writer and blogger, especially regarding the study of evolution and parasites. He has written several books and contributes science essays to publications such as The New York Times and Discover. He is a Fellow at Yale University's Morse College. Besides his popular science writing, Zimmer also gives frequent lectures, and has appeared on many radio shows, including National Public Radio's Radiolab, Fresh Air, and This American Life. His most recent award was a 2007 prize for science communication from the United States National Academy of Sciences, for his wide-ranging coverage of biology and evolution in newspapers, magazines, and his blog, "The Loom." Zimmer received his BA in English from Yale University in 1987, and began freelance writing for Natural History magazine. In 1989, Zimmer started at Discover magazine, first as a copy editor and fact checker, eventually becoming a contributing editor.