This talk analyzes Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men (2006), a dystopian film that portrays Britain of the near future as that of human infertility, anarchical chaos and extreme forms of discrimination against its non-citizens. As opposed to conventional science fiction narratives the director does not portray an unforeseeable future but insists on the immediacy of the all too familiar present and past horrors: Guantanamo, Abu Gharib, and Guernica. Within these dystopias of the present I inquire into the ways that the film articulates social anxieties about multicultural Europe after events such as the terror bombings in London (2005) that shifted the focus of debates on ethnicity in Europe to violent occurrences and discourses of security and fear. The director brings together multiple tropes related to migration: demographic anxiety, hysteria of security measures, and the depiction of refugees in need of humanitarian aid. This analysis of the film focuses on two formal elements. First, I examine how background interacts with and intervenes the focused foreground of the film, challenging the audience for a new vision towards the edges of the screen. Second, I inquire into the long takes that capture the action scenes fortuitously and convey an unmediated immediacy which takes the genre of science fiction frequently associated with cognitive estrangement and critique towards the affective territories of fear and anxiety.
Presenter: Dr. İpek Çelik
Date: Thursday, 20 December 2012, from 16.45 to 17.45 in the G-160 Seminar Room.