Monday, October 28, 2013

weeks six and seven

week six - film reviews [and] reading five - key points

Planet of the Apes, 1968, 112 minutes, USA, Director Franklin Schaffner

     When viewing the 1968 film Planet of the Apes, the first consideration that one should recognize is the films usage of present day icons as a means of connecting a viewer to the film. It's interesting to see how the adaptation of large scale monuments, such as the statue of liberty, or minute features, such as the doll that was discovered that had the ability to talk, are not only represented in the film, but are relatable to the common person who may be a viewer of the work. It creates an acknowledgement, or better yet, a bond between the viewer and the film and it's carried more personally because of the symbols they representwhether in correlation to our youth or pride as a nation. This feeds into the overarching theme of the work, the future, and the manner in which our present being will be articulated and remembered. It also poses the idea that since man is a descendant of the "ape," there remains a possibility that man may either revert to the same physique as ape once again, or opens a viewers thoughts into the possibility that may lead man to mutate into something else. The film also is able to articulate common fears that may present themselves in the future, such as the fear of being lonely. The protagonist of the film, Taylor, even mentions early on in the film while still in space that, "time bends, space is boundless, it squashes a mans ego, I feel lonely," (Planet of the Apes, 1968). This is not only a fear one could apply to the future, but pulling it back to the populace viewing this film, could also relate to one's current state of being in the 1960s.

one, Signifying Monkeys by Richard von Busack
  • "We see the origin of the taboo against killing"Ape shall not kill ape"and the class lines laid down between the bellicose gorillas, the intellectual, pacifist chimps, and the orangutans, the Ape-Planet's clergy," (von Busack, pg. 166).
  • "For all that, the first Planet of the Apes follows the politically centrist path of the average cold-war science fiction film ... In the golden age of 1950s science fiction, the giant bugs or rogue vegetablessymbolic of the Communist menaceare faced off by an aggressive general, who wants to kill the monster on sight ...  In the 1968 Planet of the Apes, it's the orangutan Dr. Zaius (the mellifluous Maurice Evans) who's the bridge between the angry hawkish gorillas and the liberal chips. Zaius is conservative enough to want the planet to stay changless. Still, he's willing, within reason, to listen to the pacifist chimps," (von Busack, pg. 169).
  • "Dehn intended the later ape films to be allegories about the boiling racial tensions in America ... The whites are racist almost to the last man. The best human in the film, a mitigating argument against ape revolution, is the assistant of the ape-hating, dictatorial Governor, McDonald, a black man caught between the oppressed and the oppressors ... McDonald's own will to help and heal isn't strong enough to overcome the bestial impulses of the white enslavers of the apes, (von Busack, pg. 173).
THX 1138, 1971, 88 minutes, USA, Director George Lucas 
      The moment of THX 1138 that resonates with me is the ending, when the protagonist emerges from the underground dystopian future society he is marked by, to a new beginning. There's an interesting contrast and resolution in the scene that goes hand in hand with several of the motives throughout the film. The first is when LUH refuses to take her drugs and realizes her love for THX. There's a scene in the film that LUH proposes that the two of them run away to the forbidden territory, but THX doesn't feel safe about the idea. As the film progresses and THX finds himself in a variety of predicaments, it's interesting to see his development as a character when he begins to abandon his hesitations towards leaving the dystopia, especially when he learns that LUH has been terminated and regenerated. As a viewer, it almost feels as if he is compelled and committed to the idea of abandoning the dystopia not for himself, but in memory of LUH. Additionally, the emergence at the end plays hand in hand with the notion of sanity. There comes a time when one is emerged in routine for too long and their well being is challenged. Often times an individual will succumb to this fate and simply coexist with it, but rarely do you see individuals take the initiative to change the very thing that causes their misery. The ending of THX 1138 lends itself perfectly to this concept, where THX has abandoned the forsakened society he had formerly been affiliated to, meanwhile emerging into a new environment that will only provide him opportunities to think, learn, and discover for himself.
Silent Running, 1972, 89 minutes, USA, Director Douglas Trumbull
     One of the most engaging aspects of the 1972 film, Silent Running, is the character development that occurs throughout. From the very start, an audience is presented with characters from two sides of the spectrum: an environmentalist who desires to preserve what remains, and a crew who cannot see the beauty or necessity in nature. When presented orders to destroy the habitats and return home, Lowell is conflicted and ultimately takes his aggression out on the crew as opposed to obeying orders.  "Given a choice between the lives of his companions and the lives of Earth's last surviving firs and pines, oaks and elms, and creepers and cantaloupes, he decides for the growing things," (Ebert). After suffocating one of the crew members and aborting the remaining two in one of the habitats, Lowell begins to feel the weight of guilt on his shoulders. This guilt is put to rest upon the burial of the crew member that remained on board, that is representational to not only the unmerited deeds he had caused, but also is part and parcel to the fact that he no longer has access to human interaction in space. In place is the interaction he has with three droids. What is interesting about these droids is the fact that they show humanistic emotions, even though they cannot articulate in the English language (though they can understand it). This notion is represented when Droid 3, Louie, was ripped from the ship during a storm and the only remnant of him that remained was his foot. Lowell attempts to take the imagery and scare the remaining droids with it, stating that this is what happens when one does not follow directions, but the way the droids mourned over the loss of Louie was similar to the way Lowell mourned during his crew member’s burial. In addition, when Lowell is performing surgery on Droid 2 after crashing into him, the other remained at his side and whimpered. These emotions from the droids make up for the lack of Lowell’s, where the roles are reversed and it can almost be compared that Lowell thinks more logically, whereas the droids are developed as being more compassionate.

two, Silent Running review by Roger Ebert
  • "Given a choice between the lives of his companions and the lives of Earth's last surviving firs and pines, oaks and elms, and creepers and cantaloupes, he decides for the growing things."
week seven - film reviews [and] reading six - key points
La Jetée, 1962, 28 minutes, France, Director Chris Marker
     When considering the 1968 film, La Jetée, one of the most prominent features of the film is its presentation of a memory. With the film being placed in the past, present, and future, the selected method of still-images emits a particular timelessness to the work. This timelessness is in correlation to the idea of what the still-image represents today – a memory. With the subtle fades from one slide to the next, La Jetée captures the same longing sensation that one’s very own photo album may evoke. Upon glancing over photographs, there’s very slight movement that comes with a still image, and that movement is on the basis of one’s memory of the past as opposed to the visual representation of what is before oneself. When viewing the film as a travel narrative, "La Jetée doesn’t make much sense; but then again, time and memory do not make ‘sense’, at least when articulated by a technology as arbitrary as language,” (Sellars). With minimal commentary and subtle movement throughout the film, a viewer is able to experience La Jetée with minimal distractions and soak up the very recollection that is being interpreted. In addition, the film attempts to portray Paris during a futuristic world war, an event that has yet to occur, but there’s an absolute realness that the film is able to accomplish with the imagery that brings this idea to life. The views of Paris and the lack of clarity in the sky give a viewer a strong sense of time and place in the work. This very notion "highlights why we are attracted to SF in the first place: not for bug-eyed aliens or galaxy-hopping spaceships, but for the way in which the form can twist our most cherished versions of reality inside out."

three, La Jetée review by Simon Sellars
  • "Nothing sorts memories from ordinary moments. They claim remembrance when they show their scars."
  • "[La Jetée] highlights why we are attracted to SF in the first place: not for bug-eyed aliens or galaxy-hopping spaceships, but for the way in which the form can twist our most cherished versions of reality inside out."
  • "However, like all time travel stories, La Jetée doesn’t make much sense; but then again, time and memory do not make ‘sense’, at least when articulated by a technology as arbitrary as language. Rather, La Jetée‘s virtue is its immediate, haunting ability to evoke the emotions of love and desire; its use of photomontage poignantly conjures up the frozen moments that constitute memory."
Dark Star, 1974, 83 minutes, USA, Director John Carpenter
     At a time of the Watergate era and the Vietnam War, the 1974 “cult” film Dark Star was considered an enthusiastic film that allowed viewers to escape from reality and enter a realm of black comedy. When considering the blanket genre for Dark Star, there’s an interesting dynamic present. Regardless that the film was completed on a low budget, it would be anticipated that the film wouldn’t be of the same stature of those in circulation simultaneously, but the ingenuity of the film transforms it into a classic. With innovative ideas such as being the first film to allow viewers to experience hyperspace, the film is able to pull forth elements that have yet to be explored in the genre of science fiction. In addition to the special effects contribution to the success of the film, the characters that drive the story forward should also be considered. Of the characters, there’s equilibrium present. Each character contains a unique personality from the next, which not only allows for the characters of the film to be more easily identified with by a large audience, but it also allows for conflict to occur from within since they’re not only conflicting personalities, but these individuals are confined to a small space for an obscure amount of time. Whether a crew member, computer, alien, or bomb, there is a cohesive environment of checks and balances developed from one individual to the next.

four, Dark Star review
  • "By presenting us with hippies in space, O'Bannon and Carpenter are parodying a few myths of the sci-fi genre, of brave pioneers who boldly go where no man has gone before."
  • "Dark Star is very much a product of its time. Channelling the disillusioned ideals of the 1960s peace and love era with the darker, more paranoid mood of the 1970s, the film takes influence from a number of sources."
  • "The ‘character' of Bomb 20 is a direct nod to HAL, as is Doolittle's space walk and his phenemological conversation to try and convince the bomb not to explode in the ship's loading bay. It's in these moments that Dark Star reveals a philosophical and almost existential edge." 
five, Technophobia/Dystopia by Michael Ryan and Douglas Kellner
  • Technophobia:
    • "Fantasy replaces an accurate assessment of the world with images that substitute desired ideals or feared projections," (Ryan, pg. 48).
    • "From a conservative perspective technology represents artifice as opposed to nature, the mechanical as opposed to the spontaneous, the regulated as opposed to the free, an equaliser as opposed to a promoter of individual distinction ... most important for the conservative individualist critique, it represents modernity, the triumph of radical change over traditional social institutions," (Ryan, pg. 49).
    • "The rhetorical strategy of many technophobic films, therefore, is to establish a strong opposition between terms (liberty vs. equality) that does not permit any intermediation. The elimination of the middle ground is an essential operation of this ideology," (Ryan, pg. 49).
    • "Thus one can only be an individual, a self, within a society of monogamous marriage, in which sexuality primarily serves the 'natural' function of reproduction rather than pleasure ... they all depend on the rejection of everything technology represents - mediation, equality, intersubstitutability, and so on," (Ryan, pg. 50).
    • "[Blade Runner] offers a mediation between technology and human values. 'Replicants are like any other machine. They can be a benefit or a hazard," ... The film also deconstructs the conservative romantic opposition of reason and feeling ... But the film suggests that feels is not the polar opposite of reason ... Thus, the film deconstructs the oppositions - human/technology, reason/feeling, culture/nature - that underwrite the conservative fear of technology by refusing the privilege one pole of the dichotomy over another and by leaving their meaning undecidable," (Ryan, pg. 51-52).
    • "What rhetoric, like technology, opens is the possibility of an undergrounded play with social institutions ... Perhaps this is why technology is such an object of fear in conservative science fiction films," (Ryan, pg. 52).
  •  Dystopias:
    • "Dystopias generally project into the future the fears of the present, and their themes often transcode the sorts of anxieties that characterised that crisis ... The dystopia films can therefore be seen as indirect, displaced articulations of progressive forces and desires that constituted a resistance to conservative hegemony in the 1980s and that pointed forward, literally as well as figurally, to alternative futures," (Ryan, pg. 54).

Monday, October 21, 2013

midterm paper

Crystal Willis
ART 441, Professor DeLappe
Midterm Paper
Word Count: 1760
Science Fiction: An Escape From Reality
     Over the last century, science fiction films have allowed society to explore realms of the unknown. This can be a metaphorical investigation into the possible effects to a current cause, whether that cause may be a war or adaptation to a certain technology, or it can be an exploration into the future and what could happen if machine surpasses the supremacy of man. To obtain this objective behind science fiction films, there are several minute considerations that compose the bigger picture and lead a film to success. These components consist of (but are not limited to) the relationship between man versus the machine, emotions and values, the relationship between the past and the future, and death. Although forty-five years apart, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Gravity (2013) will be compared and contrasted to illustrate these supporting ideas.
     When considering the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the primary concepts is that of man versus the machine. HAL, a futuristic computer series programmed with zero error, turns on the men of the mission upon reading their lips and realizing that they plan to shut his system down due to speculation that he does not have their best interest in mind. This idea of whole-heartedness is challenged throughout the film, especially in correlation to the humanistic feelings that HAL has been verbally appropriated as a machine. These feelings are questioned throughout the film, from one crew member to the next, as well as by the public eye back on earth during an interview. From the essay, The Imagination of Disaster, Sontag discusses how:
“Science fiction films invite a dispassionate, aesthetic view of destruction and violence – a technological view. Things, objects, machinery play a major role in these films. A greater range of ethical values is embodied in the décor of these films than in the people.” (Sontag, pg. 43)
From the very actions of HAL, an audience is expected to give HAL the benefit of the doubt and believe that there is good in his system, as if he perceived the world with ethical values, but HAL proves to be the very being that ignites a series of adverse events. With HAL acting as the primary source of destruction in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the opposite side of the spectrum is present in the 2013 film, Gravity. In Gravity, the initial issues arise between man and phenomenon, as opposed to man versus machine. At the beginning of the film, the crew is investigating and servicing a space telescope and are suddenly informed that debris from a Russian satellite is headed rapidly to their current location. The aftermath of the event leads to the death of the entire crew, with the exception of a mission specialist and a veteran astronaut. As the film progresses, both characters rely on what technology remains at their disposal, but from one scene to the next, uncontrollable circumstances will primarily dictate the fate of each of the characters.
    When considering the ideas of choice and fate in each of the films, there were opportunities that could have indubitably lead to different outcomes, had they been seized. The very errors that instigated future tragedies in both films can almost be perceived as self-inflicted, as opposed to anything else. Had the crew members of 2001: A Space Odyssey rotated the pod out of view from HAL, their primary mission could have been carried out more efficiently and with the possibility of fewer deaths. Secondarily in Gravity, had Dr. Stone yielded her work on the telescope when instructed to by Lt. Kowalski, they may have had the opportunity to retreat with the late Shariff Dasari still intact.
     Aside from the influence of fear in society, the future, and technology, there’s a subtlety present in both films, where they selectively incorporate aspects of art history into their storylines. In the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the most frequented unidentified objects that appear are vertical black slabs. With its consistent appearance in new destinations, it’s reminiscent of the stele’s that were adapted in ancient Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago. Typically made of diorite, a dark igneous rock, steles were often used to carry significant inscriptions, ranging from stories of deities to the “law of the land.” In relation to the latter, Hammurabi’s The Law Code is a prime example. With having an empire across ancient Mesopotamia that was continuously growing, it was impossible for him to be present from one location to the next at all times, so the stele would not only outline Mesopotamian laws, but it also served as a visual representation that that land had been conquered. Similarly to 2001: A Space Odyssey, this idea is reminiscent when the black slabs appear from one world to the next. Although they lack an inscription, they can be perceived as holding the same sense of power.
     Secondary to the slabs is the scene when Dr. David Bowman exits the spacecraft in a pod to retrieve the body of Dr. Frank Poole. When carrying Dr. Poole back to the spacecraft in the arms of the pod, the imagery is reminiscent of Michelangelo’s late 15th century Pietà. Aside from a similar aesthetic, the ideology between the two is comparable as well. At this point, Dr. Poole can be proclaimed dead, as the same for Jesus in the sculpture; meanwhile Dr. Bowman and Mary are left to endure a sense of abandonment. This idea of abandonment continues on in 2001: A Space Odyssey when Dr. Bowman is no longer in communication with his companions on Earth, as well as the crew that had been placed in cryogenic hibernation have been stripped of their habitat and left to pass in their sleep by HAL.
     On the opposite side of the spectrum are the references to art history in Gravity. Upon Dr. Stone and Lt. Kowalski being separated from the Explorer, the two begin their journey through space with hopes of survival. Upon crossing paths with the International Space Station, the two are placed in a situation where either Dr. Stone will have the opportunity to make it home, or collectively they will both be lost in space. This moment of separation is reminiscent of Michelangelo’s depiction of the Creation of Adam, an early 16th century fresco fostered within the Sistine Chapel. When looking at the aesthetics of the scene, the two attempt to reach out to one another. Dr. Stone, who is bound to the ship, takes the role of Adam on Earth, whereas Lt. Kowalski takes the role of God, extended out in space. Upon dissecting the subject matter, it can also be compared that Lt. Kowalski takes the role of God by attempting to give Dr. Stone an opportunity to live, similar to God’s extension of the spark of life to Adam in Michelangelo’s fresco. This idea of Lt. Kowalski as a pseudo-god carries over later in the film, where he becomes the voice of reason to Dr. Stone to persevere through the challenges that are set forth before her, as opposed to succumbing to death and joining “his” kingdom.
     As a whole, the idea and perception of death becomes a dominant theme within both works as well, but in much different ways. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the idea of death is presented with a lack of emotion. This is part in parcel to the idea that, “reasonableness had achieved an unbreakable supremacy over the emotions,” (Sontag, pg. 45) which correlates back to the film’s overall heavy reliance on logic. This is a result of the influence of a machine that had been previously investigated, but it doesn’t stop at feelings associated with death, but with the representation of it too. When death presented itself, the scenes were aesthetically peaceful and generalized. The characters succumbed to death as if it were the inevitable, whereas on the reverse side of the spectrum is the way death was interpreted in Gravity. In the subsequent film, death presented itself as gruesome and instantaneous. This is implicit not only for the storyline, but also due to the technology that has emerged over the last half a century. Sontag explains how:
“Recent science fiction films have a decided grimness, bolstered by their much greater degree of visual credibility … modern historical reality has greatly enlarged the imagination of disaster, and the protagonists – perhaps by the very nature of what is visited upon them – no longer seem wholly innocent.” (Sontag, pg. 42)
This explains the leap in intensity when it comes to the representation of death, both aesthetically, as well as in relation to an audience’s attachment and engagement with the characters of the film.
     As death is represented uniquely to both films, a single resolution is shared between the two. The protagonist of each film is given the opportunity of rebirth, in one way or another. In the case of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Bowman enters a new realm, where the audience is able to view his fate as he ages and eventually faces death. After his passing, it is implied that Dr. Bowman has been given the opportunity to experience a second life, when the imagery of a baby is suspended out in space. Whether this is a reincarnation of the human form or a metaphor of the new life of a star, Dr. Bowman’s life will continue in one way or another. Secondly is Dr. Stone in Gravity. Upon evacuating the International Space Station and escaping from space’s grasp with a Chinese evacuation pod, she emerges on Earth. Carrying with her the words of Lt. Kowalski, Dr. Stone has discovered a new outlook on life and now has the opportunity to reinvent herself and her future.
     Considering the two films at hand, they both illustrate unique aspects of the wide genre acknowledged as science fiction. Though at given points, they are conflicting in view, it should be remembered that, "science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster ... it is a matter of quantity and ingenuity," (Sontag, pg. 41) as opposed to being driven by a single fact. If science fiction films were to be solely based on reality, they would stray from being a medium that allows for the purging of emotions, immense wonder, and the drive to discover; they would become documentaries solely based on what is known and proven fact. It is through science fiction that an audience can escape their known reality and emerge oneself into an unexplored territory that they can develop and acknowledge as their own.


Redmond, Sean. "The Imagination of Disaster." Liquid Metal: The Science Fiction Film Reader. London: Wallflower, 2004. 40-47. Print.

Monday, October 7, 2013

week five - film reviews [and] reading four - key points

The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1951, 92 minutes, USA, Director Robert Wise
     When exploited to the 1951 film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, one of the most influential themes is the very expectation of man. In the text, Jancovich describes how, "...qualities such as emotion, feeling, intuition, interaction and imagination - qualities that are usually defined as feminine and 'irrational' - that are identified as distinctly 'human,'"(Jancovich, 326). Upon dissecting this definition and comparing it to the 1950s, these are characteristics that were more frequently associated to women, as opposed to men. Men tended to be considered more rational and stern, whereas women were perceived as being more intuitive and emotional. When considered as an entire race, though, emotions (even if solemnly displayed) are a prevalent characteristic among the masses and a complete lack therefor of leads to an inhuman society. In addition to this depiction, there's not only a transition occurring between the sexes, but also an identity given to the realm of science-fiction and beings from another world. There's a push to essentially make the unknown so perfect, that there is an extreme obedience to a higher power. This very obedience is carried throughout the film, but one of the most pivotal moments is when Kattu informs Helen that without him, Gort would annihilate everything in his path. From the reference to Gort, as well as the society Kattu informs the town about, there’s a push to show how tranquility can only be accomplished if one becomes obedient to machine, and with by doing so, one must separate emotions from their being and adapt to rationality.  

Them!, 1954, 94 minutes, USA, Director Gordon Douglas
     Upon being exposed to the 1954 film, Them!, one of the most alarming themes represented is the relationship between man and government. Compared to other films of the same decade, there's a shift that occurs, where the military is overpowered by the acknowledgement and word of science. Biskind argues how, "the test tube is mightier than the cross, and that once again, if it was science (in this case nuclear testing) that had caused the problem, science would solve it too," as well as the role of the scientist as, "[reflecting] the new prestige of science by placing scientists at the centre of world-shaking events," (Bliskind, 318). As the film progresses, it's apparent that the military is at full compliance with each of Dr. Medford's decisions and statements. There are two considerations at play with these statements: (1) the aftermath of nuclear testing, and (2) the fact that the species is recognizable. When considering the time period that the film was released during, there was an extreme amount of unanswerable questions surfacing about nuclear energy and waste. In a world of not knowing the effects, a bystander effect is generated, where rather than directly addressing and investigating the issues (or potential issues) at hand, an expectation develops that someone else will tackle the problem if and when it occurs. In the case of Them!, Dr. Medford is called upon to be one of the very individuals who investigate and with his known knowledge, is able to depict that the 'enemy' is really a mutation of a species already recognized. With recognizing and acknowledging the characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses of ants, there's a much different approach taken to solving the problem at the end of the day, in comparison to films such as The Thing. Rather than wondering what can happen, there's a basis that has already been developed that is applicable, allowing rationality to be stronger than proposals.

The Thing, 1951, 87 minutes, USA, Director Christian Nyby
     When considering the 1951 film, The Thing, one cannot help but to analyze the role and underlying themes that the alien unveils. From the text alone, Biskind mentions how, “the Thing is a robot. Some films rendered the distinction between nature and culture as one between animals and vegetables, where vegetables take on the characteristics usually associated with machines,” (Biskind, 323). With a lack of sympathy for this foreign being driven by its emotionless stature, the audience is able to better connect and identify with the roles of the human race. Of these roles, one of the more prominent is carried out by the character Nikki. As one of the only women identified in the film, it can immediately be observed how domesticated to man she is. Throughout the film, Nikki primarily references elements of the kitchen when interacting with others; applicable scenes are when she offers and serves coffee to the military men, as well as when she lists off the methods for treating vegetables. As the film progresses, we see for the first time in this class how this role is challenged by the very same character when she ties Hendry’s hands. This scene correlates back to our very own American society, where women were in this transitionary period of being extracted from work in factories and replaced with the very men who had returned from war. With this extraction, it was anticipated that these women would return to their once recognized role of maintaining the household, both as a mother and housekeeper. This also raises an eyebrow on a secondary concept from the text, where Biskind mentions the developing fear in society of the, “eruption of nature within culture and were therefore afraid of sex and mistrusted women, particularly sexual women,” (Biskind, 322).

(in correspondence with Liquid Metal: The Science Fiction Film Reader edited and compiled by Sean Redmond)

one, The Russians Are Coming, Aren't They? Them! and The Thing by Peter Biskind
  • "Them! has effectively established the legitimacy of state power ... it is the scientists who have pride of place ... the test tube is mightier than the cross, and that once again, if it was science (in this case nuclear testing) that had caused the problem, science would solve it too," (Biskind, 318).
  • "'There are no enemies in science, only phenomena to be studied', he says, but he's wrong. There are no neutrals ... Carrington's behavior justifies the soldiers' mistrust of science, even turns them against the Bomb itself ... Carrington's real crime, that is to say, worse than consorting with the enemy, is setting his own authority against that of the military," (Biskind, 320).
  • "...The Thing ultimately deals with the problem without  calling in the federal government ... but what keeps this from being a right-wing execution is that although the men at the base do it themselves, they are still soldiers employed by the government, working ultimately in its interest. By this kind of sleight of hand, conservative films avoided having to make the either/or choice," (Bliskind, 321).
  • "Some films rendered the distinction between nature and culture as one between animals and vegetables, where vegetables take on the characteristics usually associated with machines: they don't feel pain, have no emotions, and aren't retarded by moral scruples," (Biskind, 323).