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FANTASTIC CINEMA IN REFLECTION OF FUTURES

Updated: Mar 18

Imagine the following:


The scarcity scenario has made Turkey uninhabitable. Older people are considered “disposable”. The few survivors form colonies in underground cities. Everyone wears practically the same clothes, and there is a permanent feeling of robotization.

Once Upon a Time in The Future: 2121

Direction: Serpil Altın


Hot and sunny Recife, located in northeastern Brazil, is experiencing sudden climate change. The very low temperatures annihilate the city's tourism, affect the health system, and lead to countless deaths of homeless people.

Cold Tropics

Direction: Kleber Mendonça Filho



In Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, a fast-spreading virus turns people into intelligent, ultra-violent, and extremely fast zombies. After each wave of attack, the creatures are incapacitated for 32 seconds while they recover their strength to take new victims.

Virus: 32

Direction: Gustavo Hernandez


"Once Upon a Time in The Future: 2121", “Cold Tropics”, and “Virus: 32” refer to works of fantastic cinema. The genre is defined by Bulgarian Tzvetan Todorov as “the encounter with an unexpected event, impossible to be explained immediately by the rules of the world in which we live”. In the cinematic sphere, the classification is directly associated with the classic horror, science fiction, and fantasy genres.


Fantasy films are marked by the displacement of perceptions and the contestation of cultural standards and values. By positioning the viewer in front of the strange or bizarre, the narratives function as an invitation to explore the unknown.


WHY FANTASTIC CINEMA IN THE CONTEXT OF FUTURES?

Managing uncertainty requires more than conventional Foresight methodologies. New interdisciplinary models of thinking are essential to enable better decisions in the present with a view to positioning ourselves in the face of changes in the long term.


When the world becomes increasingly implausible, embracing the fantastic can make a difference in futures thinking. Narratives can be powerful tools for this purpose. Based on imagination and excess, cinema becomes a powerful vehicle forimagining what we want to avoid and what we prefer.


The seventh art[1] not only offers a rich repertoire of ideas, but also provokes, questions, and inspires. By integrating the fantasy genre into your futures practices, you will be taking a bold leap toward a deeper, more multifaceted understanding of what futures may hold.


With reflections on societal aspirations and concerns, this genre serves as a lens through which you examine the current state of the world and imagine alternative futures. Films like "In Time" address critical themes such as social inequality and questions of immortality, offering valuable insights into the ethical and social dilemmas that can emerge.


These narratives also act as precursors to technological and scientific innovations. "Minority Report," for example, anticipated interface and surveillance technologies, demonstrating how fiction can not only predict but also inspire real advances in the technological world. Therefore, such films can be a source of reflection for you to design innovations for tomorrow.


Films of this nature often challenge and expand our consciousness, transporting us to parallel universes, or unlikely futures. Narratives like "Looper," with its concepts of time travel, offer a unique insight into the limitless possibilities of human existence and the universe.


In the cultural aspect, the fantastic genre contributes to the creation of new archetypes and mythologies, such as "Star Wars". These narratives not only shape popular culture, but also influence social values and perspectives, which are essential for you to identify future trends in society.


Furthermore, fantastic cinema is an excellent educational tool. Films like "Ex Machina" make science and philosophy accessible, especially to younger people, encouraging interest in fields like artificial intelligence and technology ethics. These films can stimulate new generations of futurists, thinkers, and innovators.



REFLECTING FUTURES WITH FANTASTIC CINEMA

Fantastic cinema is not mere entertainment. As a futurist, you will find this genre a rich source of inspiration, knowledge, and vision, essential for improving your future-focused projects, activities, and ventures.


Below you can access some exercises to put into practice.


Role-playing

Create role-playing situations based on a movie. For example, if the film addresses a society that doesn't use smartphones, do an exercise on what life would be like in a world without the gadget. What are the implications of this?


Trend Survey

Watch films of the genre, taking note of social, cultural, and technological aspects. Relate these elements to current trends, analyzing which points in the film are fantasy and which have a real and imminent basis.


Futures Redesign

Choose a scene from the movie and ask participants to reimagine it. Encourage reflections on what the script would be like based on the new scenario designed. If the film addresses a dystopian narrative, what would a utopian one be like?


Dive-in Movie Sessions

Enable fantastic film screenings. Diversify subgenres, producers, and futures visions on the agendas. Promote discussions about the topics covered.


Futures Artifacts

Prototype physical or digital objects related to the context of the film. You can make something simple, like a postcard from a fictional world, or something more complex, like a technological tool.


Interestelar

Direction: Christopher Nolan



Imaginary worlds, alternative realities, and other forms of transcendence are unique platforms for you to imagine futures that are not limited by the rules of reality. So allow yourself to be inspired by these narratives, but never forget to question, adapt, and reimagine.


I hope that your journeys through fantastic cinema expand your path in building the futures we desire and deserve.

[1] In 1923, the Italian intellectual Ricciotto Canudo proposed in his Manifesto of the Seven Arts and Aesthetics that cinema be considered the seventh art.


FILMOGRAPHY


REFERENCES

MITTELL, J. A cultural approach to television genre theory. Cinema Journal, v. 40, n. 3, 2001.

ROAS, D. The threat of the fantastic. São Paulo: Editora Unesp, 2014.

SENN, B; JOHNSON, J. Fantastic cinema subject guide: a topical index to 2500 Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Films. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008.

SILVA, G. S; DA SILVA, A. M. The representation of the other in fantastic cinema: the case of the Shape of Water, 2019. Abusões, 8(8). https://doi.org/10.12957/abusoes.2019.38159.

TODOROV, T. Introduction to fantasy literature, São Paulo: Perspectiva, 2010.





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