Different Scares Me: Genocide as Depicted in Science Fiction

May 9, 2017
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The envision of a race as inferior and undeserving of life leads to a hatred that once developed through several complex and blinding stages, ends in the mass murder of such, commonly recognized as genocide. Many filmmakers and commonly known public figures have attempted to bring attention to harsh and delicate subjects through their work; fortunately, many have triumphed. A well known example of such artistic development would be science fiction classic, Metropolis, filmed by recognized director Fritz Lang, back in 1927. Science fiction is the advanced portrayal of a futuristic civilization in which speculative technology and advancements are used in order to disguisedly address common societal problems. This style presents artists with the opportunity to reach the public in a deeper and broader extent, exposing them to the difficulties faced throughout the world. In the highly prominent movie, X-men: The Last Stand, director Brett Ratner addresses fascism and genocidal development through his characters, plot, and societal conflict between humanoid mutants and humans themselves.     

       

Genocide is a grave conflict which focuses on the organized extermination of a race or culture led by the fear of the unconventional and followed by the dehumanization of the individuals that make up said group. It takes an extreme level of intolerance for the rejection needed by a group in order to have a genocide. Though it must have been present all throughout mankind, dehumanization can be traced back to Darwin and his Social Darwinism which is based on an alternate theory of evolution that causes the demeaning of the targeted group. No matter the location or time, genocide is not war, since victims are rarely armed combatants who have been polarized and subjected to harsh classification and impositions. Though governments almost always have a say in the organization of such massacres, partakers such as officials are nothing but brainwashed individuals who are being introduced to the ideology of mortal conflict which imposes fear and the suggestion that the victims propose inevitable danger and must be annihilated quickly. Although genocide is composed of several stages, one must not be fooled about its profundity since all these take place at the same time. 

      Modern art has begun to portray ideas and hidden messages which lead to the public’s understanding of worrying matters such as genocide. For instance, Metropolis by director Fritz Lang focuses on a future industrial capitalism and the oppression of workers, plus the implications such status brings. The movie follows through their subjugation and dehumanization- even among themselves. After these laborers plan to fight back, Johhan Fredersen, who represents the absolute power or main government, decides they are no longer crucial for the city and to prevent their uprising, he elaborates a plan for eliminating them as a whole. This classic film was one of the first depiction of a genocide taking place in a fascist society. 

     

Seventy-nine years later, X-men 3: The Last Stand -written by Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn and directed by Brett Ratner - sets once again a theme of genocidal dehumanization and sends a message through its dialogue. This sci-fi movie follows the story of a society in which mutants and humans are classified and divided for obvious genetic reasons. The movie clearly depicts the act of genocide throughout its various complex stages and each of these are carefully set. The plot revolves around the government’s idea to finance and distribute a cure for those mutants who would like to be reintroduced into society. Through characters such as mutant teenager Rogue, we can sense an identity crisis which incites many unique beings like herself to dehumanize themselves and become attracted to the idea of a cure, as if they were sick or diseased. Another stage of genocide portrayed several times throughout the movie would be Polarization. For instance, in the scene where mutants hold a meeting, a flyer hanging on a pole saying ‘no humans allowed” signifies their forbidding of interracial interaction. However, the director decides to make it obvious that mutants still represent the weaker faction by giving them tattoos which signify their classification and detachment from society. Preparation and organization also stand out throughout the movie by having the government and Worthington lab weaponize the cure, making it a choiceness choice which is no longer voluntary.

     

Genocide is a serious present day thread and movies such as X-men 3 by Brett Ratner and Metropolis by Fritz Lang present a well laid synopsis which attempt to advertise the prevention of such tragedy. Genocide is a very real event, as can be demonstrated by the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide among others. For instance, the Rwandan genocide presented with no less than between 500,000 and 1,000,000 deaths. However, it is a goal of many directors and writers that young audiences whom have access to works such as sci-fi movies and memoirs which will, in a hopefully near future, address these dilemmas and shape society into a nation free of hatred and division. Through such movies, individuals can unite and actively oppose racist and divide politicians, demonstrating that words are powerful and should be used for a common purpose.






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