Film Study: Gattaca

This study will concentrate on the viewing of the film Gattaca, directed by New Zealander Andrew Niccol. We’ll explore the film’s primary themes and how these are communicated in the script, images, allusions and cinematography of the film.

Direct Link to Film

Key Elements and Quotations

Flash-back structure
1940’s aesthetic- what do we know about the 1940s?
Eugenics
People’s names
“Next to Godliness”
Perfection
Substance test
Jerome (genome) (sacred name) Morrow (tomorrow)
“Have I ever told you about my son?”
99
30.2 years life expectancy
“Vincent”
Black Geneticist (Bald)
“You have specified “fair skin””
“If it’s good to leave a few things to chance”
“Simply the best of you”
Colour Filters
“Blood brothers”
No excuse to fail
“The only way you’ll see the inside of a spaceship is if you’re cleaning it”
Genoism – no one takes the law seriously
Finally the impossible happened. It was the moment that made everything else possible
A new underclass, no longer determined by social class or the colour of skin. We now had discrimination down to a science
Pathos of cleaning the space centre
“Invalid”
“I know it all by heart”
“There is no gene for fate”
An expiration date you wouldn’t believe
Wheelchair reveal
Commodification – sales patter
Blood has no nationality
25% of what you make
Use of static photo in frame
Symbolism – lying on the ground
Parallelism of swimming medal
Jerome morrow was never meant to be one step down on the podium.
How do you expect to pull this off? “I don’t know exactly”
“Eugene”, my middle name
“Normal” sample
“What about the interview?” “That was it”
“Degenerate” “Borrowed Ladder”
May do more to expose me in his death – use of oppositions, paradoxes
The place is going to be crawling with hoovers. I’ll take my chances with the J Edgars over the mission director any day.
9.3 Quite a catch
I hate to think of you in that room for a year – don’t think about it.
1940’s even to the smoking
You should be going. “I’m scared of heights”
“If at first you don’t succeed..” (Jerome)
You must be drunk to call me Vincent.
“Now there are enough of the right kind of people”
“We still have to make sure each meets his potential”, “and if he exceeds his potential”, “That simply means we incorrectly judged his potential in the first place”
If there’s anything wrong with you I can’t see it from where I’m standing. “I’m sorry the wind caught it”
Helix stairwell
Sepia filter
“Could have rented myself out to someone with a spine”.
Keep your lashes on your lids where they belong
Six fingered pianist
“What’s your number?”
This is evidence “but it’s just trash”
Twelve fingers or one, it’s how you play. That piece can only be played with 12
Electric cars
Protected by cleaners
“Luckier than most, not as lucky as some”. I know something about that.
Cage projection
Motif of swimming and the sea
Did you just make that up, or did you use it all the time?
Shot of Jerome and Jerome on the stairs. “I could always walk, I’ve been faking it”
I’m the same person I was yesterday.
God child.
To Irene: “You are the authority on what is not possible. “
“I’m here to tell you that it is possible. It is possible. “
“Is that the only way to succeed, is to see me fail”?
“How have you done any of this?” “This is how I did it Anton. I never saved anything for the swim back”
“Sorry, the wind caught it”
I have your samples ready. “Everything you need to last you two lifetimes”
Where are you going? “I’m travelling too”
“I got the better end of the deal. I only lent you my body, you lent me your dream”
I never did tell you about my son did I?
Who knows what he could do?
Parallel cuts: space ship/incinerator
Symbolism of the swimming medal
Voice-over

Posted by Christopher Waugh

“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” (Katherine Mansfield)

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