Memorie dell’ottavo giorno. Distopie tecnocratiche e genetica: il caso “Gattaca” - Memories of the eighth day. Technocratic dystopias and genetics: the case of “Gattaca”
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When cinema deals with bioethical issues, science fiction is inevitably involved, being a genre that intrinsically can be considered a thinking laboratory, as evidenced by an extensive number of titles – including novels and movies – which are now widely used by bioethicists, sociologists and philosophers even more than film scholars themselves (Fahrenheit 451, Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Solaris and Blade Runner). At the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first century, science fiction movies had been able to perfectly embody the fears and anxieties of a society that was radically changing in many respects, as evidenced by movies like The Truman Show, Dark City, eXistenZ, The Matrix, A.I. - Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Children of Men, Wall-E and Never Let Me Go, which are all focused on the theme of identity and destiny of mankind. The advent of molecular biology and the extensive use of technology in medicine brought about the materialization of nightmares about eugenics, which had been anticipated in the theoretical discussion during the previous decades. Gattaca was rightly included in the philosophical and religious debate when it was first released, and after many years it still proves to be an inexhaustible resource of ideas. For its dramatic structure, it can act as a critical counterpart – a frontier sentinel – to the scientific progress and the social, political and anthropological changes disclosed in the movie. In the essay, after a few considerations on how Gattaca belongs to the sci-fi genre and how it still has something to say within the bioethical debate, we analyse the script from a dramatic point of view. With special attention to the theme, characters and dialogue, we will show how the movie arguments can truly contribute to the scientific debate because, as regards the nature of the debate itself, they say something about the condition and nature of the human being of all ages, which is both new and pertinent to the historical and sociological context.
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