Science Fiction Film & Television

Some thoughts on the utopian film

Science Fiction Film & Television (2017), 10, (1), 53–79.

Abstract

In film, the positive utopia – the eutopia – is basically non-existent. There is a wide agreement among scholars that a typical eutopia lacks some very basic elements of a typical narrative film: it neither features a conflict that drives the plot forward nor real characters with individual traits – both of which are required by feature films in the classical Hollywood tradition. This article argues that there are areas beyond Hollywood mainstream movies that are much better suited for filmic utopias. After all, the literary utopia is characterised by its hybrid nature; it is a blend between narrative and philosophic dialogue. In the classic utopia, the fictional story only serves as a frame for the detailed description of the utopian state. The primary goal of this draft is not an exact implementation, but rather a reminder that alternatives can be conceived. Utopias in this sense are much more tightly bound to a specific historical reality; therefore, non-fiction films are much better suited for utopias. The article gives a theoretical sketch of how utopias and documentaries fit together and analyses Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist: Addendum as an exemplary utopian non-fiction film.

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Spiegel, Simon