Gattaca is a 1997 American science fiction film written and directed by Andrew Niccol. It stars Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, with Jude Law, Loren Dean, Ernest Borgnine, Gore Vidal, and Alan Arkin appearing in supporting roles. The film presents a biopunk vision of a future society driven by eugenics where potential children are conceived through genetic selection to ensure they possess the best hereditary traits of their parents. The film centers on Vincent Freeman, played by Hawke, who was conceived outside the eugenics program and struggles to overcome genetic discrimination to realize his dream of traveling into space.
The movie draws on concerns over reproductive technologies which facilitate eugenics, and the possible consequences of such technological developments for society. It also explores the idea of destiny and the ways in which it can and does govern lives. Characters in Gattaca continually battle both with society and with themselves to find their place in the world and who they are destined to be according to their genes.
The film’s title is based on the letters G, A, T, and C, which stand for guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine, the four nucleobases of DNA. The movie uses a swimming treadmill in the opening minutes to punctuate the swimming and futuristic themes. The futuristic turbine cars are based on 1960s car models like Rover P6, Citroën DS19 and Studebaker Avanti, and futuristic buildings represent modern architecture of the 1950s. (wiki)
Contagion is a 2011 U.S. medical thriller-disaster film directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, and Jennifer Ehle. The plot of Contagion documents the spread of a virus transmitted by fomites, attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease, the loss of social order in a pandemic, and finally the introduction of a vaccine to halt its spread. To follow several interacting plot lines, the film makes use of the multi-narrative “hyperlink cinema” style, popularized in several of Soderbergh’s films.
Steven Soderbergh was motivated to make an “ultra-realistic” film about the public health and scientific response to a pandemic. The movie touches on a variety of themes, including the factors which drive mass panic and collapse of social order, the scientific process for characterizing and containing a novel pathogen, balancing personal motives against professional responsibilities and rules in the face of an existential threat, the limitations and consequences of public health responses, and the pervasiveness of interpersonal connections which can serve as vectors to spread disease. Soderbergh acknowledged the salience of these post-apocalyptic themes is heightened by reactions to the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. The movie was intended to realistically convey the “intense” and “unnerving” social and scientific reactions to a pandemic. The recent real-life epidemics such as the 2003 SARS epidemic and the 2009 flu pandemic (H1N1) have been inspirations and influences in the film. The chain of contagion involving bats and pigs is reminiscent of the trail of the Nipah virus (which infects cells in the respiratory and nervous systems, the same cells as the virus in the movie) that originated in Malaysia in 1997, which similarly involved the disturbance of a bat colony by deforestation. (read more – themes – wiki)
spacetime coordinates: 1922 New York CityThe Great Gatsby is a 2013 romance drama film based on F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s 1925 novel of the same name. The film was co-written and directed by Baz Luhrmann and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the eponymous Jay Gatsby, with Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Elizabeth Debicki. The film follows the life and times of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his neighbor Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who recounts his encounter with Gatsby at the height of the Roaring Twenties in New York state.
spacetime coordinates: 1846 – 1862 New York City
Gangs of New York is a 2002 American epic period drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of New York City. It was inspired by Herbert Asbury‘s 1928 non-fiction book, The Gangs of New York.
The film is set in 1863 and follows gang leader William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) in his roles as crime boss and political kingmaker under the helm of “Boss” Tweed (Jim Broadbent). The film culminates in a violent confrontation between Cutting and his mob with the protagonist Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his allies, which prefaces the real-life New York Draft Riots of 1863.
spacetime coordinates: near future Norway / NebraskaDownsizing is a 2017 american science fiction / high-concept social satire / comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne, written by Payne and Jim Taylor and starring Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, and Kristen Wiig. It tells the story of a couple who decide to undertake a newly-invented procedure to shrink their bodies so they can start a new life in an experimental community.
Starting with Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, there exists a rich literature as well as many films dealing with mini-humans usually called dwarfs. The idea of shrinking human bodies in order to reduce the consumption of raw materials available on earth necessary for the life of mankind was presented for the first time in the novel Das Miniatom-Projekt (2006) by Richard M. Weiner. In the novel the miniaturization takes place at CERN by decreasing the sizes of atoms with the help of the world’s biggest particle accelerator, while in the Downsizing film the shrinkage is performed by bio-medical methods, by decreasing the sizes of cells.