The Horror of a Dystopian Society From Brave New World and 1984 to The Handmaid’s Tale, the twentieth century has produced a slew of horrific visions of the future. Dystopian movies or visual arts are meant to turn the optimistic visions of utopian movies on their heads, depicting societies in which the dream of an ideal society becomes a nightmare, often in ways that provide a satirical commentary on the real world society in which the movie was set (Booker, 2010, pg. 113). Dystopian movies have proved far more popular than utopian narratives, this is probably so because they present more opportunities for narrative generating conflicts, especially between the desires of specific individuals and the demands of the oppressive society that surrounds them. The category of dystopian films is closely related to that of post-apocalyptic film and dystopian societies often arise in the awake of natural or manmade disasters that have led to the destruction of the societies that came before them.
However, dystopian societies can also arise as a natural consequence of the direct historical extension of certain flaws in the current-day society with no intervening catastrophe. Recent films with dystopia inclinations include Gattaca (1997), 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Equilibrium (2002), Minority Report (2002), Banlieue 13(District 13, 2004), Casshern (2004), V for Vendetta (2005), and Children of Men (2006).
These more recent dystopian movies have become particularly clear in the way their dystopian features are not predictions so much as satirical commentaries on the present world of consumer capitalism. This paper examines the genre of dystopia with a view to understanding its common traits, ideological valences and historical specificity. Although the term dystopia predated 1900, dystopia became recognized as a literature genre during the twentieth century and has not lost its hold on the society’s imagination, as evidenced by recent films such as The Island, V for Vendetta and Children of Men. Introduction A utopia is an imaginary society that dreams of a world in which the social, political and economic problems of the real present have been solved or at least in which effective mechanisms for the solutions to these problems are in place.
A dystopia on the other hand, is an imagined world in which the dream has become a nightmare.
It is also known as anti-utopias. Dystopias are often designed to critique the potential negative implications of certain forms of utopian thought.
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