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AEON FLUX

Bregna
The characters of Aeon Flux live in the walled city of Bregna, ruled by Trevor and Oren Goodchild. The filmmakers' vision for Bregna was far from the overpolluted, gritty future worlds seen in other films; rather, they strove for a hyper-sanitized environment — one that dissembles the sinister intentions of its rulers.

"I wanted to portray an organic world, one that's less hardware-driven,” says the director, Karyn Kusama. "I wanted to create a sunny, beautiful world on the surface, where we discover secrets and strains as we venture deeper into the story.” 

As Kusama and her production designer, Andrew McAlpine, began their process of designing a world four centuries in the future, they first looked to history. "To understand 400 years in the future, you have to look some 400 years in the past,” said McAlpine. "You discover that many things have remained the same — like utensils, tools, plates, beds, shelves, windows — and you start moving from there.”

Bregna is a walled city that protects its citizens from nature. The last city on earth, it is surrounded by overgrowth. It's a small, protected place with no interaction with the outside world.

The filmmakers found what they were looking for — that combination of yesterday and tomorrow — in the buldings and gardens of Berlin and Potsdam, Germany. The Bauhaus architectural style, which Walter Gropius popularized as director of the Bauhaus art school from 1919 to 1928, exemplified what Kusama wanted to achieve on screen. The Bauhaus belief, that the union of art and technology could bring about new social conditions through the creation of new visual surroundings, underscores the principles that guided Kusama's choices in creating the look of the highly controlled and contained city-state of Bregna, where ordinary citizens are constantly under surveillance and nothing is quite as it appears to be.

With clean, unbroken lines, the geometric modernism of Bauhaus design fit perfectly with the stylized but organic look of "Aeon Flux.” "We're looking at the most beautiful thinking on form anywhere,” McAlpine said of the Bauhaus Museum, which doubles as Una Flux's apartment complex. "It's the last building Gropius ever built and we're working with some of the most pure architecture imaginable. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Location managers Christian Alexander Klempert and Matthias Braun combed the buildings and gardens of Berlin and Potsdam, and found an almost surreal combination of stunning modern and historic architectural wonders. "There were astonishing places that had never been photographed, ranging from the 1700s to the 1960s,” says McAlpine, noting that, until recently, these places had been behind the Iron Curtain. "We had access to amazing 400-year-old architecture as well as incredible modern designs, all of which had beautiful curvatures and geometric shapes to them.” The filmmakers' chosen locations include the parks and palaces of Potsdam's Schloss Sanssouci and Buga Park and Berlin's Maria Regina Martyrum.

Peter Chung, creator of the animated series, feels that the filmmaker's dedication to "getting it right” paid off. "In Berlin, I saw the crew filming Charlize on several sets, all of which were in real historical structures with all the texture and functionality of lived-in spaces,” says Chung. "The locations of the movie look and feel very real, while seeming to have been lifted straight out of the animation.”

That was exactly the impact such images had on Frances McDormand. "Karyn used Berlin's amazing architecture to create a stunning filmic statement,” she says. "It was really the perfect city to film this film.”

One location took on a special importance for the filmmakers. A majority of the film's exterior and interior government complex scenes were filmed at Tierheim, a privately funded animal rescue shelter

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