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Course Description

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, people have celebrated, questioned, and pleaded with the machine. The genesis of industrial technology was soon followed by the birth of its artistic and analytic child, the genre of science fiction: first in literary form, then in its true symbiotic counterpart in the arts, film. Filmmaking in general, and science fiction film in particular, has always been obsessed with the Janus question of utopia and dystopia, asking which of these worlds we inhabit. Other themes and questions that have emerged include the mechanization of humans; technology’s effects on culture, communication, and politics; and the impact of technology on our definition of ourselves and existence. In a comprehensive comparative analysis, the class identifies, defines, and discusses a variety of cautionary science fiction films by well-known and lesser-known masters, including Donald Cammell, David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron, Karl Freund, Stanley Kubrick, Fritz Lang, Joseph Losey, Joseph Sargent, Ridley Scott, and Francois Truffaut.
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