Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

1 Lecture 10: Who are the reel aliens? Professor Daniel Bernardi / Professor Michelle Martinez.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "1 Lecture 10: Who are the reel aliens? Professor Daniel Bernardi / Professor Michelle Martinez."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Lecture 10: Who are the reel aliens? Professor Daniel Bernardi / Professor Michelle Martinez

2 2 In the last lecture… Crossover Theory Selena and Selena Jennifer Lopez’s Cross-over Appeal

3 3 In this lecture… Types, Metaphors, & Allegories Aliens & Hispanics Blade Runner (1982) You can pause the lecture at any point, click on one of the hyperlinks (text that is underlined) to visit a site or view a clip, and then return to the same point in the lecture when you’re ready. Shot from Star Wars: Episode I (1999)Star Wars: Episode I

4 4 Types, Metaphors & Allegories Lecture 10: Part 1 Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Kirk (William Shatner) in the original Star Trek (1966-69)Leonard NimoyWilliam ShatnerStar Trek

5 5 Remember Definition of Genre “Stated simply, genre movies are those commercial feature films which, through repetition and variation, tell familiar stories with familiar characters in familiar situations. They also encourage expectations and experiences similar to those of similar films we have already seen.” - Berry Keith GrantBerry Keith Grant

6 6 Key Questions to Ask What are the visual features/motifs? What are the narrative features/discourses? What are audience expectations/Triangles? Shot from Blade Runner (1982)Blade Runner

7 7 Remember the Western Types WASP Mainstream Ethnic Margin The Native African Americans Mexicans & Mexican Americans Scar (Henry Brandon) from The Searchers (1956)Henry Brandon The Searchers

8 8 Science Fiction Types White Hero –Like Western Colored Humans in Background –Also Like Western Sympathetic Alien –E.T. (1982)E.T. –Star Wars SeriesStar Wars Destructive Alien –Aliens (1986)Aliens –Independence Day (1996)Independence Day

9 9 Critical Categories Representation of Humans –White Heroes –Colored Others Representation of Aliens –Racial Metaphors – Destructive (coloreds) –Racial Metaphors – Sympathetic (whites) Narrative –Socio-Political Allegory (multiculturalism?) –The Future as History Click Here to See Scene from the original Star Trek (1966-1969)

10 10 Classic Sympathetic Alien The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)The Day the Earth Stood Still God-like Aliens Come to Earth –Klaatu/Carpenter (white male) –Message of Unity During Cold War –Christ Allegory Click Here to See Scene from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Shot from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)The Day the Earth Stood Still

11 11 Quintessential Destructive Alien Aliens (1986)Aliens Racial Metaphor –Black w/ Stereotypical Racial PhenotypesPhenotypes Racial Allegory –Overpopulating “Welfare Queen” Click Here to See Scene from Aliens (1986) Shots from Aliens (1986)Aliens

12 12 And the Humans Aliens (1986)Aliens White Heroine –Maternal –Strong yet Beautiful Colorful Background –African Americans all Die First (common) –Chicana “Macho” Click Here to See Scene from Aliens (1986) Shots from Aliens (1986)Aliens

13 13 And the Narrative: White Future-Time Contact –Xenophobia –Assimilation Time Travel –Fixing Past to Save Future –Attacking Past to Defeat Future The Future –Success of Liberal-Humanism

14 14 “What does the Alien in these SF films signify? What does the introduction of the Sympathetic Alien mean? And in what ways is the SF alien connected to Hispanic imagery in American film? Ramrez Berg’s Questions Ramírez Berg’s Questions Shot from Blade Runner (1982)Blade Runner

15 15 Remember Semiotics Signifier: Recognizable Part of the Sign Signified: Mental Image After Receiving the Signifier / The Concept it Represents For example: The word or image “alien" is the signifier, and the concept of an alien is the signified. The two together constitute a sign.

16 16 Semiotic Process From Noodle Tools

17 17 Relationship of Signifier to Signified Arbitrary: The word and image “alien” aren’t inherently connected to the mental image of an extra terrestrial or a human; that relationship is structured through the evolution of language systems (words and images) in relation to social and individual perception. Historical: The relationship of signifier to signified, in short, is historical. It changes with time, space and “knowledge.”

18 18 Signified/Meanings Denotative: Definitional, literal, obvious or commonsense meaning of a sign. Connotative: Cultural, personal, ideological associations of the sign. Click Here to See Scene from Alien Autopsy (1997) When you see an extraterrestrial, do you create a mental picture of a being from another planet (denotative) or something more terrestrial and human (connotative)?

19 19 “… these films fulfill an important mythic-cultural function by producing a cinematic arena for the unconscious reflection of the immigrant ‘question’.” Ramrez Berg’s Proposal Ramírez Berg’s Proposal

20 20 Aliens & “Hispanics” Lecture 10: Part 2 Cartoon Associating Blade Runner (1982) with Miami Vice (1984- 1989) to Illustrate the Interracial Buddy Dimension of SFBlade Runner Miami Vice

21 21 Alien as Monstrous “Other” “Film theorist Robin Wood views the Other as a function ‘not simply as something external to the culture or to the self, but outwards in order to be hated and disowned.’ Thus, on a society-wide level, the Other exists as a project of what the culture represses. That is, the culture projects on the Other, what is repressed within the Self, in order that it can be discredited, disowned, and if possible annihilated.” – Charles Ramírez Berg Click Here to See Scene from Star Wars: Episode I (1999)

22 22 The Application of Wood to SF “I contend that these new extraterrestrials in film are a culturally unconscious means of working out the question of immigration as it has emerged in the last several decades….My project is first to pose a correspondence between immigrants and SF Alien Others and, second, to analyze it with the hope of unveiling what was, as a society, repressed and oppressed in regard to immigration.” – Charles Ramírez Berg Suggested Supplemental Reading: Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future by DrBStar Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future

23 23 In other words… “What I want to do is investigate one signifier- signified pair, the Alien as Hispanic immigrant, in order to track the consequence of moving the cinematic representation of Latinos from Stereotypes (in which group members are portrayed as one- dimensional characters) to distortion (where they are depicted as nonhuman Aliens).” – Charles Ramírez Berg Infrared night pictures of illegal aliens.

24 24 Based on Data Focus on 1980s –Cuba –Latin American –Mexico Increasing Number of “Illegal” Aliens –Competing for Limited Resources –Threats to National (Nativist) Identity Spiritual Guilt (give us your tired, your huddle masses… except Mexicans) Click Here to See Scene from Nightline episode from the 1980s

25 25 SF as Dream “Stereotyped versions of the Hispanic correspond to (relatively) undisguised dreams, serving to fulfill the wish of the dominant society to exercise control of Hispanics by belittling, ridiculing, and exaggerating them into the margin.” – Charles Ramírez Berg Based on Sigmund Freud’s work, where dream-distortions are linked to the need of the dreamer to prevent anxiety or other distressing feelings.Sigmund Freud’s Click Here to See Alien Abduction Scene from Communion (1989)

26 26 Today’s Sympathetic Alien “What we are able to realize through the appreciation – deportation narrative of Sympathetic Alien SF is that for all the space creatures’ virtues they are still Aliens – a difference that makes not only a difference, but all the difference in the word. In narrative terms, this necessitates the Sympathetic Alien's leaving Earth and returning home.” – Charles Ramírez Berg This is a similar structure to the Chicano social problem film, which places sympathy with the Chicano only to have him return to the barrio and, thus, not succeed at assimilating.

27 27 Today’s Destructive Alien “Aliens in Destructive Monster movies from Alien to Predator to Blade Runner are sucked into outer space, blasted to smithereens, or die a mercilessly, genetically engineered death. The message seems to be as clear and succinct as it is brutal: Aliens, go home or die.” – Charles Ramírez Berg Shots from Predator (1987)Predator

28 28 Blade Runner (1982) Lecture 10: Part 3 Shot from Blade Runner (1982)Blade Runner

29 29 Credits Released in 1982 Directed by Ridley ScottRidley Scott Stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James OlmosHarrison FordRutger HauerSean YoungEdward James Olmos Story of the Future, Set in L.A., About Replicant Slaves and a Diverse but Decaying Inner-city

30 30 Plot Summary Blade Runner is based on Philip K. Dick's story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. It’s a SF Film Noir film about a retired cop, Deckard (Harrison Ford), in a decrepit 2019 Los Angeles who is brought back to the L.A. police force to "retire" (kill) four genetically engineered cyborgs known as "Replicants.” The four Replicants have escaped from an off-world colony in order to find their creator and force him into expanding their pre-determined four year life span.Film Noir Summary written by DrB

31 31 White Hero “Deckard’s dilemma is very similar to that of the Border Patrolman played by Jack Nicholson in The Border, namely, how to uphold national identity in the face of the aliens’ demonstrated humanity. Blade Runner’s main conflict is psychological: Deckard's inner tension between his job and his conscience. In this way, the film raises questions about the justice and humanity of American’s policy of cold-blooded nativist isolationism.”Jack Nicholson The Border – Charles Ramírez Berg

32 32 Multicultural Future-Time “Deckard has trouble ordering food from an Asian street vendor. Gaff (Edward James Olmos), Deckard’s assistant, speaks a street gibberish that Deckard tells us is a combination ‘of Japanese, Spanish,German, whatever.’ The teeming, multicultural makeup of the people in the streets is depicted as the dark side of the melting pot: chaos, filth, overcrowding, disorder.” – Charles Ramírez Berg Click Here to See Scene from Blade Runner (1982)

33 33 Metaphoric Aliens “The Replicants are twenty-first century braceros. Their lot is unpleasant at best, and they are intelligent and human enough to realize it. ‘Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it?,’ Roy, the Replicant leader asks Deckard just at the point when he could kill him, ‘That’s what it is like to be a slave’.”braceros – Charles Ramírez Berg Shot from Blade Runner (1982)Blade Runner

34 34 The Big Point “By seeing the Alien Other in human terms, it once again forces consideration of how the long-range aims of immigration reform in this country conflict with the nation’s cherished humanitarian ideals.” – Charles Ramírez Berg Shot from Blade Runner (1982)Blade Runner

35 35 The Contradiction: Popular Culture’s Paradox Anti-Racist (Progressive) Allegory –Sympathize w/ Slaves (whiter than white) –Racism is Wrong –White Hero Escapes w/ Replant Love Interest Racist (Reactionary) Metaphor –L.A. is Decadent Due to Multiculturalism –Stereotypes of Latinos/as –Stereotypes of Asians Click Here to See Scene from Blade Runner (1982)

36 36 “Cultural tension about immigrants, coupled with psychological guilt and fear, together with doubts about national identity combines to produce, as they have in other times, in our history, xenophobia, isolationism, and nativism. What is different – and I wish to make us aware of – is the current cinematic shape of that fear: fear that transformed the greaser bandido into terminating cyborg, the Hispanic harlot in a fertile black Alien mother, menacingly reproducing monsters down in her lair.” – Charles Ramírez Berg Ramrez Berg’s Big Point Ramírez Berg’s Big Point

37 37 End of Lecture 10 End of Lecture 10 Next Lecture: What about that other alien? Still from Rancho California (Caldwell, 2002)Rancho California Caldwell

Download ppt "1 Lecture 10: Who are the reel aliens? Professor Daniel Bernardi / Professor Michelle Martinez."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google