POST-STRUCTURALISM IN ANOTHER EARTH

Topics: Ideology, Dominant ideology, False consciousness Pages: 14 (3816 words) Published: December 16, 2013
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Running Head: POST-STRUCTURALISM IN ANOTHER EARTH

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POST-STRUCTURALISM IN ANOTHER EARTH

Post-structuralism in Another Earth: A critical film analysis of a “writerly text” that challenges dominant ideologies
Another Earth, a unique and original story with stylistic traits that portray the classic drama genre, but embeds itself into a larger science-fiction concept which seems purely intentional as an element for symbolism and metaphor. Combining the genre of drama with science-fiction, writer and director Mike Cahill creates a beautiful work of art that in many ways reflects and reinforces particular aspects of post-structuralists theories and beliefs, while challenging and critiquing the assumptions and comprehensive visions generated from the dominant ideologies. In Another Earth, writer and director Mike Cahill, along with co-writer and lead actress Brit Marling, both reject the idea that Another Earth was written in order to generate a single purpose, or written to express a single meaning with a fixed idea. In an interview with Mike Cahill, he directly states that Another Earth is “not a didactic message movie… It is meant to carry across and evoke an emotion, whatever that feeling or emotion might be”. Cahill goes on to say that even though he and co-writer Brit Marling did actually come up with their own meaning for the intriguing and thought-provoking ending, that particular idea has never and will never be revealed because Cahill claims that the unknowingness and uncertainty has “opened the door to a wider interpretation, which is more important, as a filmmaker, to see the audiences make their own meaning instead of trying to follow that preconceived notion of what it personally meant to me”. Cahill clearly emphasizes the importance of the spectator for his film Another Earth, categorizing itself as an open-for-interpretation piece of “writerly text," that puts the spectator in a position of control; taking on an active role in the construction of meaning (Barthes).11  

In line with post structuralist beliefs, we as spectators are no longer passive receivers of predetermined meanings. In Beginning Theory: An Introduction To Literary and Cultural Theory, author Peter Barry draws upon T.S. Eliot’s2 idea of impersonality, indicating the “large distinction to be drawn be 

1 Roland Barthes, ”The Pleasure of the Text," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, title=The_Pleasure_of_the_Text&oldid=544904481 (accessed November 25, 2013). 2 T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent”. ‘The Sacred Wood’. 1920.

POST-STRUCTURALISM IN ANOTHER EARTH

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tween the mind of the individual, experiencing human being, and the voice which speaks in the poetry”, or in this case, the film. (Barry, 27). Old “English empiricist attitudes” hold that the “best way of expressing an emotion in art” is to find some conveyance for it through “gesture, action, or concrete symbolism” instead of approaching it “directly or descriptively” (Barry, 27). It is undoubtedly true: little is gained in fiction by having characters(or narrators) say what they feel: it has to be shown in some way. (Barry, 27) Mike Cahill represents these ideals of expression well; emotion and feeling is rarely aroused from direct dialogue spoken by the characters. In fact, for 20 minutes of the film there is no dialogue and no loss of emotional response.

The core of Another Earth lies in the parallel nar-

rative of discovery and redemption, the scientific examination of a duplicated universe alongside the emotional rebuilding of the accidentally wounded. The duplicated universe that hangs in the sky throughout Another Earth is a depiction a of multiverse; a parallel universe or alternative reality of which a hypothetical self-contained separate reality coexists with one’s own. The second Earth in Another Earth specifically emphasizes the idea of there being ‘another you’...
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