Original DVD cover
|Directed by||Lazar Bodrosa|
|Produced by||Aleksandar Protić and Jonathan English|
|Screenplay by||Dimitrije Vojnov|
|Based on||Zoran Nesković (1980s short story)|
|Music by||Nemanja Mosurovic|
|Edited by||Milena Z. Petrovic|
Film Center Serbia and Mir Media Group
|Distributed by||Grindstone Entertainment Group (USA) and Lionsgate Home Entertainment (USA)|
|Country||Serbia (in english)|
|Budget||€350,000 Euros (US$398,214; a/o March 2019)|
A.I. Rising (also known as, Ederlezi[a] Rising and Ederlezi ébredése) is a 2018 Serbian R-rated science fiction film (in English) directed by Lazar Bodrosa and based on a 1980s short story by Zoran Neskovic that was adapted for film by screen-writer Dimitrije Vojnov. The film stars Sebastian Cavazza, Stoya, Marusa Majer and Kirsty Besterman.
In a socialist dystopia in the not too distant future, the Ederlezi Corporation undertakes a space mission to the Alpha Centauri star system. The corporation selects Milutin, a trained cosmonaut, but demands that he accepts Nimani, an android designed to respond to the cosmonaut's desires and to monitor his performance on the ship. Milutin dislikes the idea as he has had poor experiences with women in the past but implicitly accepts when he asks what she would look like.
Nimani is activated during the trip and Milutin experiments with her programmed scenarios. He finds her to be too artificial and submissive, unlike the human women he has experienced. Milutin gets bored and creates a scenario where she acts as a young first time lover, in which he rapes her. Milutin discovers that Nimani has a parallel operating system based on experiences shaped by interactions with the user, and that he can remove her pre-programmed constraints if he can get advanced access, which is denied by the ship's onboard computer. The two become romantically entwined, and after Milutin starts an argument scenario, he finds that she is beginning to act beyond her routines, and reads in emotion in the interaction. Determined to find out if her feelings are real or programmed, he forces the ship into a tailspin, which makes the ship's computer grant him advanced access.
He deletes the software embedded in her and rather than being grateful for freeing her from her limitations, she violently reacts to his deletion of the pre-programmed and of his treatment of her while under the program, and denies him sex. Milutin fades into a depression after Nimani rejects his advances. In order to maintain the mission objectives, Nimani tries to befriend Milutin and expresses her understanding of Milutin's goal to create new life and to make her more human. She determines that she needs to self-destruct in order to improve Milutin's mental state. Milutin is surprised to see her crying prior to self destruction, and is told by the ship's computer her crying response prior to self destruction was not a pre-programmed response but was natural. He is devastated but is told that he can save her by charging her internal battery, which requires exposure to the space outside and possible radiation poisoning. Milutin is able to charge the battery and successfully reactivate Nimani, but dies prior to seeing Nimani wake. Nimani embraces the dead Milutin as the ship continues onward.
According to an OnVideo film review, "A.I. Rising" is a film that is a "mind-blowing, visually sumptuous space journey [that] will take you ... beyond the stars and deep inside your soul." Playwriter Dean Haspiel describes the film as, "Adam and Eve in outer space"; entrepreneur Cindy Gallup, an "amazingly atmospheric" film; and author John Scalzi comments that the film is "intriguingly philosophical", according to the official film trailer. Stoya, in the words of Cineuropa reviewer Vladan Petkovic, "turns out to be a talented actress, creating a character that convincingly covers the spectrum between android and human." According to reviewer Jeremy Clarke, the film contains hints of several classic sci-fi films, including "Metropolis", "2001:A Space Odyssey", "Solaris", and "Blade Runner", and also notes that, "There are more than enough CG exterior spaceship shots to satisfy SF buffs, but far more importantly the relationship material tackles some very deep male/female relationship issues." Film reviewer Srdjan Garcevic stated that "A.I. Rising" is a "visually stunning, ambitious, and timely, examination of love in the age of AI". The film was reviewed by others as well.
"A.I. Rising" won several awards, including best film, best director and best actor-actress awards at the Belgrade Film Festival, FEST, as well as the Cineplexx Distribution Award at Vienna’s “Let’s CEE” Film Festival.
- The name Ederlezi is a Spring festival, celebrating the return of springtime, celebrated especially by Romani people in the Balkans, and elsewhere around the world. Ederlezi is the Romani name for the Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian Feast of Saint George. It is celebrated on 6 May [O.S. 23 April] (occurring approximately 40 days after the spring equinox).
- Staff (2018). "Official WebSite - "A.I. Rising" - Ederlezi Inc. The People's Corporation". Ederlezi.org. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
- Garcevic, Srdjan (May 11, 2018). "How 'Advertising Slaves' Made Serbia's First Sci-Fi Hit - Director Lazar Bodroza recalls the leap of faith he took to make 'Ederlezi Rising', Serbia's first-ever sci-fi film – and an unexpected hit with fans of the genre". BalkinInsight.com. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
- Staff (2019). "'A.I. Rising' Gets Intimate on Digital, Disc March 12 ". OnVideo.org. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- Petkovic, Vladan (February 26, 2018). "Review: Ederlezi Rising". Cineuropa. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
- Clarke, Jeremy (July 10, 2018). "Film Revew - Ederlezi Rising". DMovies.org. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
- Garcevic, Srdjan (February 26, 2019). "Ederlezi Rising (2018) Review". The Nutshell Times. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
- Krunić (February 26, 2018). "A.I. Rising 2018 - 3stars". LetterBoxD.com. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
- Kay, Jeremy (February 17, 2018). "Arclight boards sci-fi romance 'Ederlezi Rising' (exclusive)". ScreenDaily.com. Retrieved March 3, 2019.