Let¶s make this a competition - group with the most words get chocolate.




Rules Each word must have at least 4 letters Each word must make use of the centre letter No names or other proper nouns No foreign words

1) Gattaca as dystopia. 2) Is this film set in the future? 3) Some art and philosophy. The purpose of much of this work is to get you thinking about the world Andrew Niccol has created, what the feel of it is and why these decisions about the look of the world are important.

Is the world of Gattaca a dystopia? Go back to your notes from last week, look at the essential conventions of the dystopia and have a Dystopia¶s tend to follow a general set of loose µrules¶ or conventions: brief conversation about whether the film meets these criteria. Be ready to support your decision with specific evidence from the film.

1) The protagonist or hero of the story tends to come from within the dystopia and questions that nature of the way the society works. 2) In a number of cases the protagonist or hero¶s conflict brings them to an encounter with a representative of the dystopia who articulates its principles. 3) The story is often unresolved even if the protagonist or hero manages to escape the dystopia. It is very rare for the status quo to change in a dystopia by the end of the text.


How futuristic does the film feel? What evidence can you use to justify your position?

The Matrix (1999)

Gattaca (1997)

The Matrix (1999)


Gattaca (1997)


Why make your film set in the future so clearly reminiscent of the past?

The film places itself clearly in the middle of the 20th Century in terms of the costumes of its characters and the architecture that it makes use of. This is significant because of the philosophical and artistic movements of the time. Modernism was a time of significant philosophical and artistic change, with the world in the process of throwing out much of the traditional forms of art, music, design, theatre, etc. in place of new forms. This came in a number of forms, but two specific modernisms for us to be aware of are Futurism and Imagism - movements in painting and poetry.

This was a literary and artistic movement that thoroughly embraced the future (thus the name). It was obsessed with technology, progress and the destruction of past forms. In their manifesto, or statement of beliefs/intentions, Filippo Marinetti suggested things like:

‡ The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt. ‡ We want to exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the
slap and the blow with the fist. ‡ We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath ... a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace. ‡ We want to sing the man at the wheel, the ideal axis of which crosses the earth, itself hurled along its orbit. ‡ Beauty exists only in struggle. There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character. Poetry must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man. ‡ We want to demolish museums and libraries

The futurists admired speed, technology, youth and violence, the car, the airplane and the industrial city, all that represented the technological triumph of humanity over nature. They rejected the past and all imitation, praised originality, "however daring, however violent", bore proudly "the smear of madness", dismissed art critics as useless, rebelled against harmony and good taste, swept away all the themes and subjects of all previous art, and gloried in science.


The futurists admired all that represented the technological triumph of humanity over nature. What does this have in common with the world of Gattaca?

Imagism was a poetic movement inspired by British poet Ezra Pound. He has three rules for poetry: Direct treatment of the "thing", whether subjective or objective. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation. As regarding rhythm: to compose in sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of the metronome. Basically, what he meant with this is that he wanted to completely change the face of the way poetry. It was a refusal of the style of the Romantics of the 1800s and was very much about stripping away poetry so that was much less emotive and gave a much colder, cleaner expression of the thing being written about. So, we go from this...

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud William Wordsworth I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed---and gazed---but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.

To this...

In A Station of the Metro - Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;

Petals on a wet, black bough.

Two really important details: 1) The imagists rejected the poetry of the past and forged the creation of a completely new type of poetry that was radical, new and (they believed) better. 2) The idea was that they dealt with the things as they existed, there was far less emotional connection to the thing. It was much more about appreciating its form and function rather than the emotive response in reaction to it.

So, how does this connect to Gattaca?

The question is this: How does this understanding of the artistic attitude of the mid-20th Century change your understanding of why Andrew Niccol chose this period as his setting for his future world? Why use this setting rather than constructing an image of a possible future? Use these questions to develop notes around what we¶ve looked at today and its connection to the film.

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