The Replacements: AI in the Movies


Article, Film Review


Aug 10, 2023


The Criterion Collection


Gregory Zinman


“You’re the company I waited so long for,” Dr. Rosetta Stone (Tilda Swinton) says to her three Self Replicating Automatons in Teknolust (2002), artist Lynn Hershman Leeson’s sci-fi farce about a scientist’s well-meaning pursuit of artificial life. Stone’s color-coded clones Ruby, Olive, and Marine (also played by Swinton) are confidants not only to their creator, but also to the online lonelyhearts who “e-dream” with them in lieu of actual human companionship. Immaculately conceived from Stone’s DNA, the SRAs nevertheless require regular helpings of Y chromosome to survive. So Dr. Stone plays old Hollywood movies for Ruby in her chambers in order to train her in the art of seduction. Ruby then makes sorties from the lab to hunt for semen from willing suitors, which she brings back to her sisters, who quaintly ingest it in the form of tea. Brimming with a digital sheen and commercial-worthy flat lighting by cinematographer Hiro Narita, Teknolust