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Lecture 10: Who are the reel aliens? Professor Daniel Bernardi / Professor Michelle Martinez Lecture 10: Who are the reel aliens? Professor Daniel Bernardi / Professor Michelle Martinez 1

In the last lecture… • • • Crossover Theory Selena and Selena Jennifer Lopez’s In the last lecture… • • • Crossover Theory Selena and Selena Jennifer Lopez’s Cross-over Appeal 2

In this lecture… • • • Types, Metaphors, & Allegories Aliens & Hispanics Blade In this lecture… • • • Types, Metaphors, & Allegories Aliens & Hispanics Blade Runner (1982) Shot from Star Wars: Episode I (1999) You can pause the lecture at any point, click on one of the hyperlinks (text that is underlined) to visit a site or view a clip, and then return to the same point in the lecture when you’re ready. 3

Types, Metaphors & Allegories Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Kirk (William Shatner) in the original Types, Metaphors & Allegories Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Kirk (William Shatner) in the original Star Trek (1966 -69) Lecture 10: Part 1 4

Remember Definition of Genre “Stated simply, genre movies are those commercial feature films which, Remember Definition of Genre “Stated simply, genre movies are those commercial feature films which, through repetition and variation, tell familiar stories with familiar characters in familiar situations. They also encourage expectations and experiences similar to those of similar films we have already seen. ” - Berry Keith Grant 5

Key Questions to Ask • • • What are the visual features/motifs? What are Key Questions to Ask • • • What are the visual features/motifs? What are the narrative features/discourses? What are audience expectations/Triangles? Shot from Blade Runner (1982) 6

Remember the Western Types • • • WASP Mainstream Ethnic Margin The Native African Remember the Western Types • • • WASP Mainstream Ethnic Margin The Native African Americans Mexicans & Mexican Americans Scar (Henry Brandon) from The Searchers (1956) 7

Science Fiction Types • White Hero – Like Western • Colored Humans in Background Science Fiction Types • White Hero – Like Western • Colored Humans in Background – Also Like Western • Sympathetic Alien – E. T. (1982) – Star Wars Series • Destructive Alien – Aliens (1986) – Independence Day (1996) 8

Critical Categories • Representation of Humans – White Heroes – Colored Others • Representation Critical Categories • Representation of Humans – White Heroes – Colored Others • Representation of Aliens – Racial Metaphors – Destructive (coloreds) – Racial Metaphors – Sympathetic (whites) • Narrative – Socio-Political Allegory (multiculturalism? ) – The Future as History Click Here to See Scene from the original Star Trek (1966 -1969) 9

Classic Sympathetic Alien • • The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) God-like Aliens Classic Sympathetic Alien • • The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) God-like Aliens Come to Earth – Klaatu/Carpenter (white male) – Message of Unity During Cold War – Christ Allegory Shot from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Click Here to See Scene from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) 10

Quintessential Destructive Alien • • Aliens (1986) Racial Metaphor – Black w/ Stereotypical Racial Quintessential Destructive Alien • • Aliens (1986) Racial Metaphor – Black w/ Stereotypical Racial Phenotypes • Racial Allegory – Overpopulating “Welfare Queen” Shots from Aliens (1986) Click Here to See Scene from Aliens (1986) 11

And the Humans • • Aliens (1986) White Heroine – Maternal – Strong yet And the Humans • • Aliens (1986) White Heroine – Maternal – Strong yet Beautiful • Colorful Background – African Americans all Die First (common) – Chicana “Macho” Shots from Aliens (1986) Click Here to See Scene from Aliens (1986) 12

And the Narrative: White Future-Time • Contact – Xenophobia – Assimilation • Time Travel And the Narrative: White Future-Time • Contact – Xenophobia – Assimilation • Time Travel – Fixing Past to Save Future – Attacking Past to Defeat Future • The Future – Success of Liberal-Humanism 13

Ramírez Berg’s Questions Ram “What does the Alien in these SF films signify? What Ramírez Berg’s Questions Ram “What does the Alien in these SF films signify? What does the introduction of the Sympathetic Alien mean? And in what ways is the SF alien connected to Hispanic imagery in American film? Shot from Blade Runner (1982) 14

Remember Semiotics • • Signifier: Recognizable Part of the Signified: Mental Image After Receiving Remember Semiotics • • Signifier: Recognizable Part of the Signified: Mental Image After Receiving the Signifier / The Concept it Represents For example: The word or image “alien" is the signifier, and the concept of an alien is the signified. The two together constitute a sign. 15

Semiotic Process From Noodle Tools 16 Semiotic Process From Noodle Tools 16

Relationship of Signifier to Signified • • Arbitrary: The word and image “alien” aren’t Relationship of Signifier to Signified • • Arbitrary: The word and image “alien” aren’t inherently connected to the mental image of an extra terrestrial or a human; that relationship is structured through the evolution of language systems (words and images) in relation to social and individual perception. Historical: The relationship of signifier to signified, in short, is historical. It changes with time, space and “knowledge. ” 17

Signified/Meanings • • Denotative: Definitional, literal, obvious or commonsense meaning of a sign. Connotative: Signified/Meanings • • Denotative: Definitional, literal, obvious or commonsense meaning of a sign. Connotative: Cultural, personal, ideological associations of the sign. When you see an extraterrestrial, do you create a mental picture of a being from another planet (denotative) or something more terrestrial and human (connotative)? Click Here to See Scene from Alien Autopsy (1997) 18

Ramírez Berg’s Proposal Ram “… these films fulfill an important mythic-cultural function by producing Ramírez Berg’s Proposal Ram “… these films fulfill an important mythic-cultural function by producing a cinematic arena for the unconscious reflection of the immigrant ‘question’. ” 19

Aliens & “Hispanics” Cartoon Associating Blade Runner (1982) with Miami Vice (19841989) to Illustrate Aliens & “Hispanics” Cartoon Associating Blade Runner (1982) with Miami Vice (19841989) to Illustrate the Interracial Buddy Dimension of SF Lecture 10: Part 2 20

Alien as Monstrous “Other” “Film theorist Robin Wood views the Other as a function Alien as Monstrous “Other” “Film theorist Robin Wood views the Other as a function ‘not simply as something external to the culture or to the self, but outwards in order to be hated and disowned. ’ Thus, on a society-wide level, the Other exists as a project of what the culture represses. That is, the culture projects on the Other, what is repressed within the Self, in order that it can be discredited, disowned, and if possible annihilated. ” – Charles Ramírez Berg Click Here to See Scene from Star Wars: Episode I (1999) 21

The Application of Wood to SF “I contend that these new extraterrestrials in film The Application of Wood to SF “I contend that these new extraterrestrials in film are a culturally unconscious means of working out the question of immigration as it has emerged in the last several decades…. My project is first to pose a correspondence between immigrants and SF Alien Others and, second, to analyze it with the hope of unveiling what was, as a society, repressed and oppressed in regard to immigration. ” – Charles Ramírez Berg Suggested Supplemental Reading: Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future by Dr. B 22

In other words… “What I want to do is investigate one signifiersignified pair, the In other words… “What I want to do is investigate one signifiersignified pair, the Alien as Hispanic immigrant, in order to track the consequence of moving the cinematic representation of Latinos from Stereotypes (in which group members are portrayed as onedimensional characters) to distortion (where they are depicted as nonhuman Aliens). ” – Charles Ramírez Berg 23 Infrared night pictures of illegal aliens. www. desertinvasion. us

Based on Data • Focus on 1980 s – Cuba – Latin American – Based on Data • Focus on 1980 s – Cuba – Latin American – Mexico • Increasing Number of “Illegal” Aliens – Competing for Limited Resources – Threats to National (Nativist) Identity • Spiritual Guilt (give us your tired, your huddle masses… except Mexicans) Click Here to See Scene from Nightline episode from the 1980 s 24

SF as Dream “Stereotyped versions of the Hispanic correspond to (relatively) undisguised dreams, serving SF as Dream “Stereotyped versions of the Hispanic correspond to (relatively) undisguised dreams, serving to fulfill the wish of the dominant society to exercise control of Hispanics by belittling, ridiculing, and exaggerating them into the margin. ” – Charles Ramírez Berg Based on Sigmund Freud’s work, where dream-distortions are linked to the need of the dreamer to prevent anxiety or other distressing feelings. Click Here to See Alien Abduction Scene from Communion (1989) 25

Today’s Sympathetic Alien “What we are able to realize through the appreciation – deportation Today’s Sympathetic Alien “What we are able to realize through the appreciation – deportation narrative of Sympathetic Alien SF is that for all the space creatures’ virtues they are still Aliens – a difference that makes not only a difference, but all the difference in the word. In narrative terms, this necessitates the Sympathetic Alien's leaving Earth and returning home. ” – Charles Ramírez Berg This is a similar structure to the Chicano social problem film, which places sympathy with the Chicano only to have him return to the barrio and, thus, not succeed at assimilating. 26

Today’s Destructive Alien “Aliens in Destructive Monster movies from Alien to Predator to Blade Today’s Destructive Alien “Aliens in Destructive Monster movies from Alien to Predator to Blade Runner are sucked into outer space, blasted to smithereens, or die a mercilessly, genetically engineered death. The message seems to be as clear and succinct as it is brutal: Aliens, go home or die. ” – Charles Ramírez Berg Shots from Predator (1987) 27

Blade Runner (1982) Shot from Blade Runner (1982) Lecture 10: Part 3 28 Blade Runner (1982) Shot from Blade Runner (1982) Lecture 10: Part 3 28

Credits • • Released in 1982 Directed by Ridley Scott Stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Credits • • Released in 1982 Directed by Ridley Scott Stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos Story of the Future, Set in L. A. , About Replicant Slaves and a Diverse but Decaying Inner-city 29

Plot Summary Blade Runner is based on Philip K. Dick's story, Do Androids Dream Plot Summary Blade Runner is based on Philip K. Dick's story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. It’s a SF Film Noir film about a retired cop, Deckard (Harrison Ford), in a decrepit 2019 Los Angeles who is brought back to the L. A. police force to "retire" (kill) four genetically engineered cyborgs known as "Replicants. ” The four Replicants have escaped from an off-world colony in order to find their creator and force him into expanding their pre-determined four year life span. Summary written by Dr. B 30

White Hero “Deckard’s dilemma is very similar to that of the Border Patrolman played White Hero “Deckard’s dilemma is very similar to that of the Border Patrolman played by Jack Nicholson in The Border, namely, how to uphold national identity in the face of the aliens’ demonstrated humanity. Blade Runner’s main conflict is psychological: Deckard's inner tension between his job and his conscience. In this way, the film raises questions about the justice and humanity of American’s policy of cold-blooded nativist isolationism. ” – Charles Ramírez Berg 31

Multicultural Future-Time “Deckard has trouble ordering food from an Asian street vendor. Gaff (Edward Multicultural Future-Time “Deckard has trouble ordering food from an Asian street vendor. Gaff (Edward James Olmos), Deckard’s assistant, speaks a street gibberish that Deckard tells us is a combination ‘of Japanese, Spanish, German, whatever. ’ The teeming, multicultural makeup of the people in the streets is depicted as the dark side of the melting pot: chaos, filth, overcrowding, disorder. ” – Charles Ramírez Berg Click Here to See Scene from Blade Runner (1982) 32

Metaphoric Aliens “The Replicants are twenty-first century braceros. Their lot is unpleasant at best, Metaphoric Aliens “The Replicants are twenty-first century braceros. Their lot is unpleasant at best, and they are intelligent and human enough to realize it. ‘Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? , ’ Roy, the Replicant leader asks Deckard just at the point when he could kill him, ‘That’s what it is like to be a slave’. ” – Charles Ramírez Berg Shot from Blade Runner (1982) 33

The Big Point “By seeing the Alien Other in human terms, it once again The Big Point “By seeing the Alien Other in human terms, it once again forces consideration of how the long-range aims of immigration reform in this country conflict with the nation’s cherished humanitarian ideals. ” – Charles Ramírez Berg Shot from Blade Runner (1982) 34

The Contradiction: Popular Culture’s Paradox • Anti-Racist (Progressive) Allegory – Sympathize w/ Slaves (whiter The Contradiction: Popular Culture’s Paradox • Anti-Racist (Progressive) Allegory – Sympathize w/ Slaves (whiter than white) – Racism is Wrong – White Hero Escapes w/ Replant Love Interest • Racist (Reactionary) Metaphor – L. A. is Decadent Due to Multiculturalism – Stereotypes of Latinos/as – Stereotypes of Asians 35 Click Here to See Scene from Blade Runner (1982)

Ramírez Berg’s Big Point Ram “Cultural tension about immigrants, coupled with psychological guilt and Ramírez Berg’s Big Point Ram “Cultural tension about immigrants, coupled with psychological guilt and fear, together with doubts about national identity combines to produce, as they have in other times, in our history, xenophobia, isolationism, and nativism. What is different – and I wish to make us aware of – is the current cinematic shape of that fear: fear that transformed the greaser bandido into terminating cyborg, the Hispanic harlot in a fertile black Alien mother, menacingly reproducing monsters down in her lair. ” – Charles Ramírez Berg 36

End of Lecture 10 Still from Rancho California (Caldwell, 2002) Next Lecture: What about End of Lecture 10 Still from Rancho California (Caldwell, 2002) Next Lecture: What about that other alien? 37