Gattaca Ideas


  • issues a waring: dangers of genetic selection
  • moral

Projected into the future: 

  • advances in genetic science
  • rocket science
  • electric cars

Elements of the past that have been revived: 

  • modernist architecture
  • prejudice
  • people (not robots) doing menial work
  • music 
  • cabaret: 
  • cars
  • clothing
  • hair 

Andrew Niccol’s film Gattaca presents us with a warning about the future. His new eugenics have a distinctly early 20th Century resonance. How does Niccol convey his warning by using visual references to the past?


– Show history repeating itself by using NAZI Historical References

If this film is set years in the future then why are there double breasted coats? Why are there 1940’s cars? Why is prejudice so prominent? In the film Gattaca, Andrew Niccol uses visual references to issue a warning:  history repeats itself endlessly for those who are unwilling to learn from the past. World war 2 was toxic, both literally and figuratively. It was a time where great animosity rained down on society because people believed that there was a superior race. The dystopia portrayed in Gattaca is again controlled by a hierarchy of genetics. Niccol connects this future to the early 1900s though visual themes to send the message that genetic selection will do nothing but divide us. Maybe even to the length of the Nazis and the Jews.

Modernist buildings: They are sharp and cold like Ms Trunchbull from Matilda – what you see is what you get. There are exposed beams, not because they are beautiful but because there is no good reason to use up resources to cover them. This type of architecture is at every turn throughout Gattaca. Flashback to 1940’s when the style emerged, but in the film it’s back and more icy than ever! What does the style of modernism represent? Practicality, cleanliness, simplicity. These qualities also could describe the aim of the Nazis. Get rid of the Jews so there is more jobs for the Nazis, it’s practical.  Kill off every person who does not have white skin, blond hair and blue eyes, it makes the population look clean and uniform. The Nazis simply wanted Germany to have a superior population. And the same could be said for the society that is pro-genetic selection. It is again practical, clean and simple; more healthy people, less health care and there are no complications attached when creating the child because people can’t just design the DNA of a baby on accident. Andrew Niccol uses the cold clinical essence of the modernist architecture to further communicate what the values of the dystopia are and to also link it back to the time period where the architecture was used the values were also important. 

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