The Net

(Das Netz - Unabomber, LSD & Internet)

Germany, 2003, 121 min, color/b&w
In German; English subtitles
Music (Score)
Themes & Genres:


In 1996, the FBI captured the American domestic terrorist and former mathematics professor and anarchist author Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, who understood himself to be battling the increasing technolog,ization of the world. In the mid-20th century, a network of thinkers and a host of intellectual developments—including cybernetics and systems theory, multimedia art, new concepts of psychology and military research—came to the fore and became relevant in influencing and controlling communications and mass behaviors. With the development of the internet in the 1980s, the question arose: What does the unlimited development of information technology mean for human society?


This compelling and provocative documentary explores how post-WWII trends and modern technology influenced social relationships, affected people’s minds and potentially replaced reality with virtual realities. It interweaves excerpts from correspondence between the director and Ted Kaczynski between interviews with leading American eyewitnesses, including New York publisher John Brockman, American writer and co-creator of the Whole World Catalog Steward Brand and physicist and philosopher Heinz von Foerster. The Unabomber’s story is presented as an extreme case of how individual identity can disappear in global virtual worlds.


Stefanie Zobl. Filmheft: Das Netz.

Brian Holmes. Escape the Overcode.



2018 Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film, Germany
2016 International Festival Signes de Nuit, Lisbon
2012 Deutsche Docs: The Contemporary German Documentary, Anthology Film Archives, New York
2008 H3R3TIC Film Festival, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


2008 ArtFutura, Gijón, Spain
2006 Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada
Film Festival Malmö, Sweden
2004 FilmKunstFest Schwerin, Germany
2004 European Media Art Festival Award, Osnabrück, Germany
2003 Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film, Germany


Press comments

“But most of the films about Kaczynski—all attempting, in one way or another, to explain him—betray his mystique. With the exception of The Net, a 2003 film essay by German filmmaker Lutz Dammbeck, neither Ted K nor its predecessors put their finger on the point that part of the public’s fascination with him was his autonomy from technology.”   —The Nation, March 15, 2022 


“Dammbeck’s conceptual quest links multiple nodes of cultural and political thought in the manner of the Internet itself. The Net exposes a hidden matrix of revolutionary advances, coincidences, and conspiracies.” — Anthology Film Archives


“[The film is] an intellectual roller coaster ride through art, technology, philosophy, politics, psychology and sociology that simultaneously impressed and irritated us. […] It is an enormous catalyst for interdisciplinary associations…”  —Jury of EMAF Award


“Lutz Dammbeck’s documentary The Net spins a suggestive web out of the inventors of the internet, the infamous Unabomber and terms including cybernetics and systems theory.”  —


"I watched your film yesterday and it sent a shiver down my spine. The film is a triumph in bringing together unexpected images, thoughts and words. It poses so many disturbing unanswered questions.”   —Jasia Reichardt, art historian and curator, London 2005


“He's a wonderful filmmaker and interviewer. [...] A jewel-like piece of paranoia!”   —Stewart Brand, 2006


“Explosive!”  —Robert Richter, Filmwoche/Filmecho


“Thrilling inquiry.”  —Hans-Jörg Rother, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung   


“Dammbeck does not discover hidden connections, but rather ties together details that had not been considered in combination with one another. An inspiring film for a wide audience.”  —Sylvia Hallensleben, Tagesspiegel 


“The film opens Pandora’s box up wide. […] Some of the scenes are intoxicating.”  —Süddeutsche Zeitung


“There’s something connecting utopianism, anarchism, the CIA, LSD and the Unabomber. This documentary aims to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.”   —H3R3TIC Film Festival, Amsterdam



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