It cannot have happenend by sheer coincidence that in the first quarter of 1999 two tightly related movie pictures were released - the Wachowski brother's The Matrix and David Cronenberg's eXistenZ - which had (among others) two aspects in common:
- Both dealt in the essentially same manner with "real" vs. "virtual" reality and thus visualized an important philosophical problem.
- Both featured the essentially same kind of mechanical plugin to get from the "real" to the "virtual" world and back. In eXistenZ this plugin was called "bioport", in The Matrix there was no name given to it, but it was highly visible.
So there must have been some connections in the genesis of these two movie pictures:
- Has there been "something in the air" in the late 90s which accidentally influenced both of them?
- Did they accidentally have the same specific (literary, philosophical, or scientific) model?
- Or has there eventually been a case of (film) industrial espionage resp. artistical espionage?
- Or maybe an agreement among artists? ("You strengthen this aspect, I sthrengthen that aspect")
- Is there no other way conceivable than a bioport to get from the real to the virtual world and back?
Considering that both movie pictures were really big successes – The Matrix more commercially, eXistenZ more cinematically – these questions do deserve an answer.
Has anyone already tried to answer these questions investigatively (not only speculatively)?
As a side question: Which serious comparisons of these to films would you recommend?
I found this a good one: 'eXistenZ' (1999): A Review