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Friendship's Death 15 rating

Tilda Swinton plays an extra-terrestrial android discussing life’s big questions with a British war correspondent in this unique sci-fi by influential film theorist Peter Wollen.

Science Fiction 1987 72 mins

Director: Peter Wollen



Friendship (Swinton) has been sent to Earth on a peace mission. Heading for MIT, she inadvertently lands in Amman, Jordan during the 1970 ‘Black September’ war and is ushered to safety by journalist Sullivan (Bill Paterson). Holed up in a hotel as the conflict rages outside, the pair enter into a series of fascinating conversations about mortality, technology and the nature of warfare. Swinton gives a captivating early-career performance as she calmly debates with a wry and world-weary Sullivan. Together they ask: are we worth saving? Political and prescient, Wollen’s only solo feature film is a witty exploration of human-machine relations that feels remarkably relevant today.

The BFI National Archive’s 4K remastering of the film is from the original Standard 16mm colour negative. The soundtrack was digitised directly from the original 35mm final mix magnetic master track. The remastering was undertaken by the BFI’s Film Conservation team in collaboration with the film’s producer, Rebecca O’Brien, and cinematographer, Witold Stok.