Major American fears through the eyes of cinema
At the mention of the main fears of modern society, many people first come to mind the genre of anti-utopia. Here immediately appears ruthless totalitarian state in the style of Orwell, which prohibits even the slightest manifestations of inner freedom, and you can lose your life for only one "mental crime". However, it is interesting that this kind of books and films are almost the same in different cultures - both those who survived the totalitarian era, and those who simply fear it.
I would also like to dwell on more “typically American” fears, which are somewhat different from traditional ideas about the ominous image of the future and are expressed not only in dystopias; and try to guess what realities of American society are embodied in these fears.
- Fear of artificial intelligence, corporations and ... bureaucracy
The relative proximity of Hollywood to Silicon Valley, of course, could not but affect the subject of many science fiction films, ranging from the "classic" "The Matrix" and ending with modern innovations. Real developments in the field of artificial intelligence are constantly being improved, and therefore the plots that sooner or later such a computer mind will get out of control and take over the world (or already invisibly rules the world) are repeated in various films with enviable regularity.
Often, ominous corporations appear in the script (as, for example, in the film “Nirvana”), which either control artificial intelligence or, on the contrary, try to destroy a robot or a program that suddenly began to show human feelings. Here, on the one hand, the fear of Americans towards the growing role of corporations manifests itself, and on the other hand, the rigidity of corporate culture inherent in individual companies is noted. Anyway, the image of the corporation, devouring everything around and not allowing violation of the rules for the sake of manifestations of humanity, is quite common.
In American cinema, there is also an image of a virus that infects a computer system and turns it into a terrible killer machine. I would venture to suggest that in this case there may be hiding not only the fear of comprehensive computerization, but also the image of the American bureaucracy. Corruption in the United States is more common at a high level, whereas at a lower level the rules are usually not violated, and bribery is almost absent. On the one hand, this is a tangible plus, but on the other hand, with such a system, there is practically no opportunity to correct mistakes and shortcomings quickly.
If a “virus” gets into such a system, for example, an investigation or a lawsuit against an innocent person on a false denunciation begins, there is no possibility to “quickly resolve the issue” or “to agree between one’s own” in the post-Soviet space. The system with all its ruthlessness will work for the virus - until justice is restored, often at the cost of huge money, time and nerves. This symbol of the system, with which even its very powerful "cogs" cannot do anything, is characteristic of any western country, and especially for the USA.
- Fear of falling out of work rhythm
This fear will probably be fully understood only by those who live in America. Yes, in all countries, people are afraid of losing their jobs, but only with American workaholism and an abundance of accounts this loss can be almost "death like." Yesterday's wealthy person, having lost his job and not having managed to save enough savings, can very quickly lose a house, and then completely turn into a homeless person. The fear of being out of work sounds in many American films, but nowhere has it been expressed as vividly as in the movie “In Time”.
In this fantastic thriller, humanity has opened the way to immortality, and people stop aging when they reach 25 age. After that, the implanted clocks start ticking on their arm. When his time expires, the person instantly dies. At the same time, it was precisely time that turned into the only currency that everyone is trying to get in any way possible to avoid such a death. They pay for their work here with time instead of money, moreover, residents of the poor quarter (ghetto) are forced to work for miserable seconds, and move at a run, as they try to spend all their time on earning extra minutes and hours of life.
In fact, this film became the literal incarnation of the famous phrase “Time is money”, and an expression of the inherent feeling of many Americans that if you stopped making money, you didn’t have much time left to live (in the case of the real world, a secure life to which you're used to). Constant running for a living for the sake of survival, from which it is impossible to break free, reflects the working rhythm of many Americans, with the only difference that it is not the inhabitants of the “ghetto” who often work in reality, but rather the very well-off people and the standard “middle class”.
- Fear of discrimination against women
His novel was the novel and the series “The Handmaid's Tale”, filmed on its basis, 2017. The action takes place in the future in a fictional totalitarian state - the Republic of Gilead, which is a pseudo-religious theocracy. Gilead is located in the territory of the modern United States and is constantly at war with neighboring countries. In the future, only one out of a hundred women is able to have a child; therefore, in the republic, women from ordinary people are sent to special camps, where they are transformed into “maids” and trained to perform a single function - conceiving and having children for officers and officials whose wives are not on this. In fact, the maidservants become slave incubators. They do not have the right to organize their personal lives, they cannot refuse the next “lord” who rapes them, and, of course, they cannot have an abortion after such ritual rape.
The subject of abortions and dispositions of a woman by her body is generally very painful for the United States, and has become particularly relevant today, when in Alabama, literally just passed a law about the almost complete ban on abortion, including in the case of rape. Same law try to take and in Missouri. Similar bills were attempted in Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa and North Dakota.
Another sick theme of the series is sexism and discrimination against women. Now, in practice, such discrimination is not observed now, but American women insist that they have received equal rights with men in certain areas of life and work relatively recently, and still fear that these rights will not be respected. Let us recall, for example, the film “Battle of the Sexes” (2017 year), reflecting the struggle of American sportswomen for the right to receive equal prize with men in the 70s of the last century.
And of course, Americans have always been inherent fear of various paranormal phenomena, abundantly shown in the X-Files, and in all sorts of "zombie apocalypse". I still could not find any analogs to these monsters in American society, so most likely, in this case, there is a common fear of people before the unknown. Nevertheless, Hollywood cinema can really tell a lot about American society and its problems.
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