Movie Lists

The 23 Greatest Sci-Fi and Fantasy Films of 2023, Ranked


Whereas there weren’t a ton of nice sci-fi films in 2023, fantasy movies delivered, making this a splendidly diverse checklist.

Truthfully, 2023 was the worst yr for sci-fi in a very long time. Even the marquee sci-fi movie of the yr from an acclaimed director, The Creator, wasn’t the moment traditional we might hoped for. Often, quirky indies bear the burden of the yr (that was definitely the case for sci-fi films in 2022), however even most of the smaller sci-fi films of 2023 weren’t too nice. We have tried to gather the most effective of the yr, however frankly, a number of the sci-fi movies offered listed here are simply excellent films, not masterpieces — aside from some glorious comedies with sci-fi premises.

Happily, fantasy movies stepped up and acquired the job finished. This can be attributable to the truth that it is sort of troublesome to nail down simply what fantasy is. A little bit of unbelievable magic was sprinkled over a wide range of movies inside different genres, so in separating best-of lists by style, we have determined to deal with the movies which might be certifiable fantasies and never embrace fantastical films that predominantly belong in different classes. Beau Is Afraid is extra of a horror-comedy; All of Us Strangers is extra of a romance; Barbie is extra of a comedy; Start/Rebirth is extra of a horror movie; Polaris is an motion thriller.

Moreover, we have dominated out all superhero flicks from 2023, which have their very own checklist. We have additionally dominated out 2023’s best animated films, most of that are fantasies anyway (Nimona, The Boy and the Heron, Want, The Canterville Ghost). All that being mentioned, here is our assortment of the most effective science-fiction and fantasy films of 2023, primarily based on their conceptual ingenuity, visible and aesthetic brilliance, memorable characters, and emotional impact.

23
The Pod Technology

Read Our Review

The Pod Technology is a unusual sci-fi comedy with a number of perception into relationships, expertise, and a standard dichotomy many ladies could face in life — have a profession, or have a toddler? The movie follows Rachel (Emilia Clarke) and Alvy (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in a high-tech future the place the 2 determine to have a toddler utilizing a man-made, egg-like womb. Rachel is ready to pursue her demanding profession whereas the newborn grows within the polished egg, one thing which quietly creeps Alvy out. He grows actual crops in his atrium, a stark distinction from the techno-womb.

Deep Questions and Quiet Humor

Director Sophie Barthes poses a number of provocative questions in The Pod Technology, milking the premise for every part it has. As she mentioned in our interview, “Science fiction is the best genre to discover philosophical concepts in a playful means with out lecturing the viewers. You get to stretch your muscle groups as a filmmaker and author, discover unusual concepts.” As such, the movie explores surrogacy, gender roles, the definition of motherhood, and what we sacrifice for technological comfort. Hire or purchase on digital platforms like Prime Video, Vudu, YouTube, and so forth.

22
Loosen up, I am from the Future



Relax I'm From the Future Poster

Relax, I’m from the Future

Launch Date

September 22, 2023

Director

Luke Higginson

Solid

Gabrielle Graham

, Rhys Darby

, Julian Richings

Ranking

Not Rated

Runtime

1hr 34min

Genres

Sci-Fi

, Comedy

Read Our Review

A lackadaisical comedy that captures the type, goofy spirit of star Rhys Darby, Loosen up, I am from the Future follows a really unprofessional time traveler who heads to the previous and is pursued by a sort of time officer looking for to forestall the results of his actions. He stumbles upon a form however bitter leftist activist named Holly (Gabrielle Graham), who takes him in. In fact, he makes use of his foreknowledge and powers to make some straightforward cash.

A Charming Movie About Hope

Time journey tales usually heart across the frequent human need to vary the previous and create a greater future. There’s a number of hope in that, which is strictly what Holly wants. She’s consultant of so many people who find themselves disillusioned with politics and our international scenario; “It appears like means an excessive amount of work to do one thing that truly issues,” she says. The movie explores this sense of resignation and nihilism, and fight that and really create that means on this planet. It is a unfastened, wacky little film that is hardly as heavy as its themes. Hire or purchase on digital platforms like YouTube, Prime Video, and Apple TV. You’ll be able to go behind the scenes of the movie in our video under:

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21
The Creator



The Creator

The Creator

Launch Date

September 29, 2023

Director

Gareth Edwards

Ranking

PG-13

Runtime

2hr 13min

Genres

Action

, Sci-Fi

Read Our Review

Gareth Edwards is the director of 2010’s marvelous Monsters and the excellent remake of Godzilla that kickstarted the MonsterVerse in 2014; with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story he proved that he may take a giant price range and make a large field workplace success that is additionally critically acclaimed. So you’ll assume that giving him free rein with $80 million would lead to top-of-the-line movies of the yr. Sadly, The Creator shouldn’t be that, however it’s a good sci-fi movie. Taking a extra distinctive method to sentient manmade intelligence than different movies, The Creator explores a world caught up in a battle over AI, and one U.S. Military sergeant who will get caught in the course of it.

A Visually Very good and Hopeful Examine of ‘The Different’

Regardless of The Creator‘s numerous tropes, it’s a true epic with glorious visible results, a number of the yr’s finest. The beautiful CGI motion sequences and the imaginative design of the AI simulants make the movie stand out, as does its shocking optimism about synthetic intelligence, which turns into an allegory for any ‘different’ in society. As Gareth Edwards told us, “Plenty of science fiction is allegorical. It is not so literal. It was actually about people who find themselves totally different, and the way we at all times kind of worry them and deal with them with suspicion, and finally, they turn into the enemy.” Stream on Hulu and lease or purchase on any digital platform. You’ll be able to try a clip from the movie under:

20
The Mountain

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Thomas Salvador’s The Mountain is a mysterious film that slipped by the radar of many cinephiles and critics this yr, which is unlucky as a result of it is very stunning and intensely unusual. The movie follows a person who all of the sudden quits his job and drops out of life to camp out within the snowy Alps close to a ski lodge. He develops a relationship with a chef there, however feels compelled to wander deeper and deeper into the mountains, ultimately discovering one thing very weird lurking beneath the icy floor.

A Glowing Romantic Fantasy

There’s already an inherent fantasy in movies about individuals who abandon their mundane lives to do one thing very totally different, however The Mountain goes additional by together with a mysterious and principally unexplained glowing substance hidden within the mountains that may stand up to a spread of allegorical interpretations. The scenes during which our protagonist explores this unbelievable secret within the Alps are hauntingly stunning, as is the romance and unbelievable visuals of the movie. Stream on Strand Releasing and thru Prime Video, and lease or purchase on digital platforms.

19
Fingernails



Fingernails

Fingernails

Launch Date

November 3, 2023

Director

Christos Nikou

Ranking

R

Runtime

1hr 53min

Genres

Drama

, Romance

, Sci-Fi

One other romantic movie throughout the confines of a sci-fi narrative, Fingernails is one other polished and attention-grabbing Apple TV film with big-name actors that did not get a lot consideration. The movie is about in a near-future the place a expertise has been developed to check the veracity of affection; {couples} can take the check and measure how a lot they love one another and the way effectively the connection will work. Jessie Buckley continues her streak of exceptional performances as Anna, a girl who has handed the check together with her boyfriend however nonetheless experiences doubts. She secretly takes a job on the Love Institute to study extra in regards to the expertise, and falls for her co-worker, Amir (Riz Ahmed).

A Fleshed-Out Thought Experiment

Primarily, Fingernails is a thought experiment become a movie; like most science-fiction, it takes a conceptual premise and fleshes it out. On this case, it turns into a well-built world the place the consequences and penalties of the idea are felt. That helps make Fingernails a extra reasonable movie, and it is additional grounded by the superb performances from Buckley, Ahmed, Annie Murphy, Luke Wilson, and an particularly soulful and entrancing Jeremy Allen White. The wonderful solid dynamics maintain us invested within the romance and the expertise, and the movie has us questioning our personal definitions of affection. Stream on Apple TV.

18
The Cow Who Sang a Tune Into the Future

Magical realism is a superb fantasy subgenre that takes grounded soicopolitical conditions like battle and poverty and shines a brand new mild on them by means of the lens of fantasy; assume The Spirit of the Beehive and Pan’s Labyrinth. The Cow Who Sang a Tune Into the Future is a worthy successor to the model, combining enigmatic and dreamy fantasy with a really naturalistic story of a poor rural household lacking their matriarch.

A Lovely Dream

The movie follows an environmentally ravished space in Chile the place the Cruces River has been critically polluted. Amid the numerous lifeless fish floating on the floor, a girl rises from the river after being lifeless for years. She returns residence to her household as an ethereal presence which disturbs the bogus applied sciences on this pure setting.

Mía Maestro is completely in tune with the tone of the movie, giving an amazing efficiency because the resurrected mom. It is all very dreamy and delightful, not simply visually but additionally emotionally. The movie would not clarify every part, and as a substitute makes use of an emotional narrative to drive the plot fairly than a extra literal storyline, which works splendidly if in case you have the endurance for it. It is a particular movie for dreamers. Hire or purchase on digital platforms like Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV.

17
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Amongst Thieves

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One of the vital surprisingly, effectively, good movies of the yr, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Amongst Thieves is an anomaly — the sport adaptation was critically acclaimed however a field workplace disappointment, one thing which often goes the opposite means round. It is a particularly enjoyable fantasy journey that is relentless in its pacing however edited in a cogent and clear means in order that even D&D haters can perceive what is going on on, from jail escapes and gladiatorial video games to zombie armies and fats dragons.

A Nice Solid Places Enjoyable Again in Journey

An endlessly charismatic Chris Pine leads the best way in Honor Amongst Thieves, however is supported by an all-in supporting solid together with Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Web page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Bradley Cooper, and Hugh Grant. Everyone seems to be dedicated to bringing humor and pleasure to this elaborately constructed world in order that the movie is extra about characters than plot, a really sensible selection that makes this one of the vital purely enjoyable mainstream journey fantasies in a decade. Stream on MGM+, Paramount+, and Prime Video, and lease or purchase on different digital platforms.

16
Linoleum



Linoleum

Linoleum

Launch Date

March 12, 2023

Director

Colin West

Solid

Jim Gaffigan

, Rhea Seehorn

, Katelyn Nacon

, Gabriel Rush

, Amy Hargreaves

, Tony Shalhoub

Runtime

1hr 41min

Read Our Review

Comic Jim Gaffigan delivers an amazing efficiency within the sci-fi dramedy, Linoleum. The movie follows an on a regular basis man who by no means actually realized his goals regardless of having a great, regular life. He is the host of a science present for kids and has a spouse, daughter, and good residence, however when a rocket crashes within the yard of that residence, the person decides to pursue his childhood dream of constructing a rocket and going to area, creating a special that means for his life.

Jim Gaffigan’s Seek for That means

Gaffigan and co-star Rhea Seehorn are nice in Linoleum, creating a practical marriage that’s affected by a midlife droop. Filmmaker Colin West throws a number of curveballs within the movie, from doppelgängers and conspiracies to a heartbreaking twist, however finally the movie is grounded by the determined seek for that means all of us expertise. Stream on Hulu and lease or purchase on digital platforms.

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15
Smoking Causes Coughing

For those who’re aware of filmmaker Quentin Dupieux (aka Mr. Oizo), you realize what to anticipate from one among his movies — absurdity, digressions, and meta deconstructions of popular culture and genres. Smoking Causes Coughing is his wacky tackle superhero movies and Japanese tokusatsu titles, following a Energy Rangers-type superhero group referred to as Tobacco Power as they’re compelled to go on a communal team-building retreat. It is about as nuts as you’d count on.

Scatterbrained, Bonkers, and Good

A movie that’s outlined as a lot by its detours and digressions than its precise plot, Smoking Causes Coughing is a hilariously droll work of true surrealism that dares you to interpret it. Whichever means you spin it, although, the colourful imagery, deadpan performing, and retro sci-fi expertise is eccentrically funky and pleasing. From melancholic fish recounting tragic tales to oversexed rats barking orders by means of inexperienced goo, the film is an unforgettable sci-fi comedy crammed with quirks. Stream on Hulu and lease or purchase on digital platforms.

14
Moon Backyard

A fantasy movie that dives into actual horror like a mix of Legend and Coraline, Ryan Stevens Harris’ darkish indie Moon Backyard is woefully underrated. Like the good fantasy movies Tideland and The Fall, Moon Backyard follows a toddler who retreats into the epic tales of her thoughts. On this case, she’s comatose, which might be why her dream world is extra disturbing than most different movies.

A Demonic Put up-Industrial Nightmare

The visible panorama of Moon Backyard is terrifying and extremely constructed contemplating the comparatively small price range. The lady is trapped in a steampunk forest hell with unusual lighting and disturbing creatures, together with a demonic drive that desires to eat her tears. Harris’ filmmaking ingenuity, Michael Deragon’s menacing rating, and Wolfgang Meyer’s lo-fi cinematography all mix to create a nightmare that transcends narrative. Hire or purchase on digital platforms like YouTube, Apple TV, and extra.

13
Wonka



Wonka

Wonka

Launch Date

December 15, 2023

Director

Paul King

Genres

Fantasy

, Adventure

, kids

, Household

Read Our Review

A significantly better movie than most individuals anticipated, Wonka takes the Roald Dahl story as inspiration to create a giant, broad prequel with enormous musical numbers. Timothée Chalamet offers one among his finest performances because the heartfelt Willy Wonka, who travels to a fabled European metropolis and finally ends up turning into an indentured servant. He grandly plans to flee and turn into the sweet king and unfold scrumptious cheer, however the chocolate cartel will thwart him each step of the best way.

A Genuinely Honest Chocolatier from Paul King

Paul King is without doubt one of the few administrators as we speak who can create authentically honest and uplifting movies with out descending into tacky clichés or saccharine stupidity. He mastered this with the Paddington movies, and continues to show his ability with Wonka, whereas additionally making a delightfully fleshed out world. There’s additionally a surprisingly anti-authoritarian streak all through the movie, with Wonka combating in opposition to highly effective establishments just like the police, the church, and the company elite so as to make a constructive change on this planet. To have all that in a giant mainstream movie is a Christmas miracle. In theaters now.

12
No One Will Save You



No One Will Save You

No One Will Save You

Launch Date

September 22, 2023

Director

Brian Duffield

Solid

Kaitlyn Dever

, Zack Duhame

, Geraldine Singer

, Dane Rhodes

Ranking

PG-13

Runtime

1hr 33min

Genres

Horror

, Sci-Fi

, Thriller

Read Our Review

A tense sci-fi thriller that mixes residence invasion with alien invasion, No One Will Save You is a breathless Hulu authentic movie that by no means lets up. Kaitlyn Dever is a one-person drive of nature within the movie, basically its solely actual star; it is actually unbelievable to think about how sincere her efficiency is given the truth that she’s so usually interacting with CGI results. She performs a younger girl ostracized for her group after a tragedy, and when aliens go to the city, she fights to remain alive with none assist.

A Girl Fights to Survive Aliens and Herself

For what was possible a significantly small price range, the consequences and motion sequences in No One Will Save You’re distinctive. Dever’s character is a guilt-ridden lonely girl, obsessive about one thing horrible she did previously, and thru her combat for survival she ostensibly finds a solution to cathartically take care of that trauma and possibly forgive herself. Within the course of, the movie is darkly thrilling, and ends with a tremendously haunting ending. Stream on Hulu.

11
The Gravity

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No, it is not Sandra Bullock in area 10 years later. The Gravity is a French movie that follows two brothers in an city Parisian neighborhood who reunite with an outdated good friend because the planets surprisingly align and disrupt the pure order of the planet. In the meantime, the three pals get blended up with an offended gang and put together for battle.

A Wild Journey with an Epic Finale

The Gravity is a particularly trendy and culturally particular slice of life movie with epic style parts, and feels quite a bit just like the considerably small UK sci-fi film, Assault the Block. It provides an identical look into the lives of individuals within the margins and offers them the prospect to be heroes, whereas utilizing each cent of its small price range correctly to create glorious visuals. The final half an hour of The Gravity, with its kickass combat scenes and pure disasters, is the sort of fist-pumping leisure that can go away you applauding. Hire or purchase on digital platforms like YouTube, Vudu, and Prime Video.

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10
The Mill

Read Our Review

Whereas it will not be probably the most trendy movie of the yr, The Mill is extremely underrated; that is probably the best movie about capitalism in current reminiscence. That is partly as a result of it has a easy and acquainted plot as an entry level — a person wakes up in a wierd setting with out realizing how he acquired there. He works for a futuristic behemoth of a company (like if Google and Amazon merged) which apparently sends underperforming workers to the titular Mill, the place they carry out a meaningless however grueling activity in competitors with different ‘workers.’

Lil Rel Howery Leads a Good Allegory

Lil Rel Howery had a wonderful yr, from his nice visitor position on Poker Face to playing Santa in Dashing Through the Snow. He is at his finest in The Mill, basically a one-man present for greater than an hour. He struggles to make the corporate comfortable and escape, however slowly reaches the disturbing realization that performing effectively for a company solely signifies that they know you are a workhorse and might do extra. It is a terrifying movie as a result of it is so reasonable. Stream on Hulu.

9
Infinity Pool



Infinity Pool

Infinity Pool

Launch Date

January 27, 2023

Ranking

R

Runtime

1hr 57min

Read Our Review

Brandon Cronenberg’s disturbing and excessive meditation on privilege, emasculation, and tourism is a chilly, sick nightmare with a number of the yr’s most unforgettable scenes. Infinity Pool follows a pair on trip in a wierd nation; they’re ordered to not transcend the gates of their fancy resort. However after they befriend a unusual couple, they interact in some darkish and harmful video games for which there are not any penalties.

The Wealthy Are No Longer Culpable

The nation within the movie has extraordinarily strict legal guidelines and a harsh jail system, however as a result of it is such a stupendous place, they’ve developed a horrifying cloning expertise. Wealthy vacationers can do no matter they need and fulfill their sickest fantasies, after which pay a hefty sum to create a double to take the punishment for them. The result’s a sci-fi horror in regards to the meaninglessness of ethics, regulation, and culpability when ruthless financial methods enable exorbitant privilege. It is also a downright nasty and peculiar physique horror movie. Stream on Hulu and lease or purchase on digital platforms.

8
Mami Wata

Mami Wata comes from the Republic of Benin in West Africa and gorgeously interprets culturally particular folklore into cinematic fantasy. The affected person slow-burn is a mesmerizing black-and-white movie a couple of matriarchy in a state of unrest, with its residents questioning the authority of the priestess who oversees the land. When a mysterious man washes up on their shore, the political scenario is just exacerbated. The Sundance hit is without doubt one of the ghostly films of the yr.

A Haunting Power Reaching Out from the Previous

There’s one thing deeply unsettling and melancholic about Mami Wata, and never simply due to the beautiful cinematography from Lílis Soares. The movie is a tone poem of kinds about an outdated lifestyle falling aside — the priestess who can supposedly hear and interpret the desire of the gods is being questions and even her family begins to marvel about their lifestyle. In the end, this can be a minimalist political thriller deconstructed and retold as a sort of historical fantasy, and it is unattainable to look away. Not but on streaming, however contemplating it is Nigeria’s submission for the Academy Award for Greatest Worldwide Characteristic Movie this yr, one imagines it is going to turn into obtainable.

7
Dream Situation



Dream Scenario

Dream Scenario

Launch Date

November 10, 2023

Director

Kristoffer Borgli

Solid

Nicolas Cage

, Julianne Nicholson

, Jessica Clement

Ranking

R

Runtime

1hr 40min

Genres

Comedy

Read Our Review

A trippy movie that tackles a number of cultural themes, Dream Situation is arguably extra misunderstood than most movies this yr, apart from the Barbenheimer pair. The fantasy comedy stars Nicolas Cage as an unassuming faculty professor who all of the sudden begins turning up in folks’s goals. There is a sort of superstar which surrounds him as increasingly more folks collectively dream about the identical particular person, resulting in main comical issues on this man’s life.

Cancel Tradition and Desires of Memes

In its personal allegorical means, Dream Situation poses questions about cancel culture and the distinction between fictional artwork (goals) and actual folks (Cage’s character). If the professor does one thing horrible to you in your dream, how do you continue to really feel about him? Whose duty is it? The movie additionally explores meme tradition and the way photographs get decontextualized within the cultural zeitgeist and alter in line with totally different views, which is becoming for a movie that may very well be interpreted in some ways. The themes of Dream Situation are fascinating, the filmmaking is vivid and colourful, and Cage is having a blast on this distinctive comedy. Hire or purchase on digital platforms like Apple TV, YouTube, and Google Play.

6
LOLA

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A very creative discovered footage movie, LOLA blurs the strains between just about each style — it is a humorous sci-fi movie about battle and romance with a number of thrills. The film chronicles the house video recordings of two sensible orphaned sisters in England on the beginning of World War II who’ve created a time machine of kinds. It could’t transport folks by means of time, however it might probably transport electromagnetic waves. They use the machine to assist the army keep away from the worst tragedies the British skilled by the hands of the Germans.

Delirious and Critical

LOLA turns into pure cinema by means of its kaleidoscopic modifying and reasonable camerawork (with director Andrew Legge utilizing cameras from the Thirties and Forties just like the Bolex and the Newman Sinclair, solely with 16mm and 35mm movie). Mixed with each archival and synthetic newsreels, the movie appears like a doc from the Forties in an alternate actuality, and actors Emma Appleton and Stefanie Martini promote all of it the best way because the charming sisters, even to the surprisingly severe finish. Stream free of charge on Tubi and lease or purchase on digital platforms.

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5
They Cloned Tyrone



They Cloned Tyrone

They Cloned Tyrone

Launch Date

July 21, 2023

Director

Juel Taylor

Ranking

R

Runtime

2hr 2min

Genres

Comedy

, Action

, Mystery

Read Our Review

They Cloned Tyrone did not obtain practically as a lot acclaim because it deserved when it got here out, probably as a result of the SAG-AFTRA strike started proper after the movie premiered on Netflix, sucking up a number of consideration in mid-to-late July and past. That is a disgrace although, as a result of the movie is such an creative and distinct mixture of retro sci-fi and gut-busting humor with some actual Blaxploitation Energy. John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, and Teyonah Parris are excellent as a drug vendor, a drug-using pimp, and one among his intercourse staff, respectively.

The Nice Alternative of Tyrone

Director Juel Taylor’s clever film takes the absurd racist conspiracy of ‘The Nice Alternative Concept’ and makes use of it to gas a hilarious satirical narrative about how society views Black folks and the way sadly expendable folks of colour and in poverty are. The madcap antics of the movie and its rapid cult traditional nature make it top-of-the-line comedy movies of 2023. Stream on Netflix. Take a look at our interview with John Boyega and Teyonah Parris under:

4
As soon as Inside a Time

Read Our Review

The nice filmmaker Godfrey Reggio returns twenty years after the conclusion of his legendary Qatsi trilogy. Cinephiles will already be aware of his legendary debut, Koyaanisqatsi, and its expansive follow-ups, Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi. These wordless movies used modern camerawork and iconic Philip Glass scores to create mesmerizing meditations on international tradition and what we’re collectively doing to the planet. With As soon as Inside a Time, Reggio works with Naqoyqatsi‘s editor, Jon Kane, to direct a brand new experimental masterpiece with a Philip Glass score.

The Future Is Bizarre

As soon as Inside a Time arguably has extra of a story than some other Reggio movie, although that is clearly not saying a lot. As an alternative, it is a beautiful visible marvel that can make you ask, “How the hell did they do this?” Utilizing a collage-style stop-motion animation, possible with rotoscoping and a few digital results, the filmmakers paint an image of a techno-apocalypse during which our expertise and habit to it results in our ruination, leaving a small technology of latest kids to create a greater world. Not at the moment streaming, however you may try the trailer under and watch this area for extra details about its wider launch:

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