The Ends of the Earth: Nature, Narrative and Identity in Dystopian Film

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This article offers a comparative ecocritical reading of two very different dystopian films: Silent Running (Douglas Trumbull, 1971), and eXistenz (David Cronenberg, 1997). In particular, it interprets these films – which predict the potential ramifications of global environmental catastrophe and biotechnological progress – in relation to contrasting conceptualisations of ‘nature’ that might broadly be termed either ‘ecological’ or ‘postmodern’. It argues that despite the sf genre’s preoccupation with technologically advanced, virtual or urban environments, the concept of ‘nature’ and ‘the natural’ remains crucial to these films’ critique of authoritarian power structures that restrict individual self-expression, and their interrogation of human individuality and selfhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-39
JournalCritical Survey
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Nature
  • Ecocriticism
  • Dystopian cinema
  • US cinema
  • Science fiction


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