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November 1997, Week 2


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Dejan Nikolic <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 12 Nov 1997 01:14:41 +0200
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Donald Larsson wrote:
> Helen Kay asks:
> > Can anyone help? I'm trying to compile a list of films or TV programmes
> > (fiction or non-fiction, but preferably post-1970) which incorporate or
> > discuss popular images of genetics. I'm looking in particular for
> > popular "behavioural genetics" stories--"bad seed" or "evil genes" themes.
> You might want to start with films based on Naturalist novels that
> often deal with the anti-hero protagonists as "tainted" by "bad blood."
> Renoir's LA BETE HUMAINE (from a Zola novel) and von Stroheim's GREED
> (adapted from Frank Norris's MCTEAGUE) are two examples.
> Of course, some of the more recent horror/slasher films play on this
> theme, but it's interesting to note that some of them have the slasher
> tainted not by blood or genes but by a traumatic experience.
> The Nature vs. Nurture debate continues.
> Don Larsson
> ----------------------
> Donald Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
> [log in to unmask]
> ----
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite
There is a contemporary example for the bad seed paradygm as well, in
ALIEN RESURRECTION (slated for release in November) and an interesting
extrapolation of the theme in DEMON SEED (in which Julie Christie gives
birth to a machine's baby). The ALIEN series is the ultimate biological
metaphor in film (from the visceral sexuality of the original ALIEN to
the AIDS-reverbations in ALIEN 3) and there are political implications
in the idea of total behavior-control.
It's not that the nature vs nurture debate continues, it's more like
films have reflected a fear of nature winning over nurture (again, the
political link).
Susan Sontag gives quite a few good hints in her essay IMAGINATION OF
CATASTROPHE (published in the 70s).
Dejan Nikolic
student of psychology in Belgrade
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