In Red Alert: Marxist Approaches to Science Fiction Cinema, editors Ewa Mazierska and Alfredo Suppia argue that Marxist philosophy, science fiction, and film share important connections concerning imaginings of the future. Contributors look at themes across a wide variety of films, including many international co-productions to explore individualism versus collectivism, technological obstacles to travel through time and space, the accumulation of capital and colonization, struggles of oppressed groups, the dangers of false ideologies, and the extension of the concept of labor due to technological advances.
Red Alert considers a wide swath of contemporary international films, from the rarely studied to mainstream science fiction blockbusters like The Matrix. Contributors explore early Czechoslovak science fiction, the Polish-Estonian co-productions of director Marek Piestrak, and science fiction elements in 1970s American blaxploitation films. The collection includes analyses of recent films like Transfer (Damir Lukacevic), Avalon (Mamoru Oshii), Gamer (Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor), and District 9 and Elysium (Neill Blomkamp), along with more obscure films like Alex Rivera’s materialist science fiction works and the Latin American zombie films of Pablo Parés, Hernán Sáez, and Alejandro Brugués. Contributors show that the ambivalence and inner contradictions highlighted by the films illustrate both the richness of Marx’s legacy and the heterogeneity and complexity of the science fiction genre.
This collection challenges the perception that science fiction cinema is a Western or specifically American genre, showing that a broader, transnational approach is necessary to fully understand its scope. Scholars and students of film, science fiction, and Marxist culture will enjoy Red Alert.
About the Author
Ewa Mazierska is professor in film studies at the University of Central Lancashire and principal editor of a journal Studies in Eastern European Cinema. She has published over twenty monographs and edited collections, including From Self-Fulfillment to Survival of the Fittest: Work in European Cinema from the 1960s to the Present, Postcolonial Approaches to Eastern European Cinema: Representing Neighbours on Screen (with Eva Näripea and Lars Kristensen), and Work in Cinema: Labor and Human Condition. Mazierska’s work has been translated into almost twenty languages, including French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Portugese, Estonian, and Serbian.
Alfredo Suppia is professor of film studies at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. He is also the author of Rarefied Atmosphere: Science Fiction in Brazilian Cinema and The Replicant Metropolis: Constructing a Dialogue Between Metropolis and Blade Runner.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Marxism and Science Fiction Cinema Ewa Mazierska Alpredo Suppia 1
1 First Contact or Primal Scene: Communism Meets Real Socialism Meets Capitalism in Early Czechoslovak Science Fiction Cinema Petra Hanáková 25
2 Soviet and Post-Soviet Images of Capitalism: Ideological Fissures in Marek Piestrak's Polish-Estonian Coproductions Eva Näripea 48
3 Paying Freedom Dues: Marxism, Black Radicalism, and Blaxploitation Science Fiction Mark Bould 72
4 The Biopolitics of Globalization in Damir Lukacevic's Transfer Sherryl Vint 98
5 Capitalism and Wasted Lives in District 9 and Elysium Ewa Mazierska Alfredo Suppia 121
6 Marxism vs. Postmodernism: The Case of The Matrix Tony Burns 149
7 Representation of "Gaming Capitalism" in Avalon and Garner Ewa Mazierska 179
8 Remote Exploitations: Alex Riveras Materialist SF Cinema in the Age of Cognitive Capitalism Alfredo Suppia 202
9 Rags and Revolution: Visions of the Uimpenproletariat in Latin American Zombie Films Mariano Paz 229