Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Paola Dalla Torre | Università LUMSA, Roma | Italy 


September 15th 2022 | 12.00 – 13.30
Panel #3 | “(Bio)Political Orders
Room G.127 | Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milan, Largo Gemelli 1

Transhuman Dystopias: cinematographic science fiction and bioethical issues

In contemporary cinema we can identify a category that we can call bioethical science-fiction. Bioethical sci-fi movies deal with the foundational topics of bioethical science, such as genetics, artificial intelligence, and transhumanism. In this way, those complex and debated issues have become accessible to the popular imagination through cinematographic storytelling. The trend in bioethics sci-fiction is a dystopian storytelling that warns us about our future. A moral point of view that makes bioethical science fiction a genre at odds with the nihilism of contemporary cinema.
The paper will consider a series of movies that deal with those subjects and with the relative ideas about the possible empowerment of humans through technological innovations. Themes, as topical as ever, which polarizes all debates, between enthusiasts and critics, and which have found in the contemporary dystopian bioethical sci-fi cinematography a privileged channel in which these social tensions are reflected and related fears are exorcised.
What kind of future is imagined by these works? What scenario is envisioned for humanity and society? What are the raw nerves that are revealed? The paper will attempt to systematize these questions and outline an initial atlas of cinematic transhuman dystopias.

Paola Dalla Torre is Associate Professor of Film History at LUMSA in Rome. Part of her studies are devoted to contemporary cinema and especially science fiction, with a particular focus on the relationship between cinema and bioethics. In this regard, the following texts are worth mentioning: Sognando il futuro (Rubbettino 2012) Cinema contemporaneo e questioni bioetiche (Studium 2010).