What? Why? How?
Reproductive technologies and the biotech revolution have rarely become sexy cinematic subjects or attractive to contemporary directors and it’s always been a mystery why. Do you consider Jurassic Park a biotech movie? Probably not. Well its rife with cloning, extracting ancient DNA, Polymerase Chain Reaction tech and depicts bio engineers as the new sensation of the year – cute paleontologists.
GATTACA seems to find the issue hot, but only as a drawback to the eugenic movement and as a future job interview liability.
I stumbled on this one because I was desperate to find movies about surrogate mothers, cloning, test tube babies and artificial insemination. It’s been a long time since we had the first in vitro baby (England 1978). The number of IVF babies has arisen dramatically since. Organ transplants, human organ farming and organ trafficking was a theme for the stunning Never Let Me Go (also 2010!). Repo Men (2010) is an incredible action move from a future where transplanted organs are being repossessed and retrieving whenever the owner cannot make his payments in time. Renaissance was 2006 black & white animation about regenerative medicine, anti-aging and those ready to kill for it.
Sara Franklin, an anthropologist studying the biocultural implications and reshaping of kingship trough IVF technologies, including cloning, has said that popular representations of biotech issues or even self representation of these by the industry itself obscures some of the actual transformative and conceptual leaps the lab practice is already taking.
Kinship is a good start, cose apparently the issue is purely taboo, how do humans define blood ties, mother-child relationships and even sexual attraction (who do you choose to fuck with or not).
I liked the movies Hungarian directors pace, the slow, ambient movement of the camera. The stark simple and desolate nature surroundings. It’s almost a classical Romanticism at work here. The plot could also be a Romantic author’s material. Lovers clone and give life to each other regardless of social taboos and ensuing isolation and banishment. The total clarity of the imagery is in total contrast with the murky gender politics at work here. Let’s not forget that the heterosexual lover gets cloned and that man is begotten by loving and devoted woman. If we don’t wave aside cloning as the wet dream of a girl who lived too much in Japan, then the movie becomes epic, not to say tragic.
Incest is not just taboo – but a continuous way to bring forth your own feelings and relationships. Incest drives not just cloning but the entire dynamic of love, reproducing same feelings, the same people. Well, it is worth seeing at what lengths the adulation of human new born life will go and if soma reproduction (body cells as opposed to cells extracted from gonads – read balls or ovaries) gets the upper hand. Non-sexual methods of reproduction (sexual reproduction = rapid recombination of genes) are available and sometimes enviable if you look for your lost loved one and live on a very isolated ocean beach house without almost no pesky neighbours.