List of dystopian films

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This is a list of films commonly regarded as dystopian.

A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia,[1] kakotopia, cackotopia, or anti-utopia) is the vision of a society that is the opposite of utopia. A dystopian society is one in which the conditions of life are miserable, characterized by human misery, poverty, oppression, violence, disease, and/or pollution.

Many of the listed works below are generally considered as being dystopian because their story emphasizes one or more detrimental societal characteristics that would be considered unusual if practiced by a utopia. However, some stories with the same detrimental societal characteristics are not universally classified as dystopias by some critics because these characteristics are not practiced to the same degree, or have in the past, or are currently being practiced in the real world. Despite these menacing and dehumanising elements portrayed by a society in some dismal stories - it is really an attempt to depict a heterotopia, a society that is neither Utopian, nor entirely bad, but different from our own.

Such debates frequently surround literary and cinematic works that do not show the classic characteristics of dystopian fiction, such as a government like entity that seeks total control of individuals' lives.

In addition, the following movie list is broken down into categories: those which display an obvious dystopia theme, post-apocalyptic (i.e. Hobbesian), those which ultimately follow a more cyberpunk theme, and those which are more miscellaneously categorized, being that they are in between dystopia/cyberpunk and something else, as previously noted, "not like our society." While the movies appearing under the miscellaneous theme may have dystopia-like qualities they do not focus on a dystopian society in their plot. Dystopian films usually display pivotal traits that most utopian societies would avoid. One common trait is mass dehumanization. Where nearly all individuals are required, voluntarily or by force, to eliminate some "natural" emotional, physical, or free will quality as to conform to a society's “unnatural" greater good goals. Movies like A Clockwork Orange may seem dystopian, but may not qualify since it is only one criminal individual who is voluntarily dehumanized and not the whole of society. This film then becomes a heterotopia. In Blade Runner, it is rather ambiguous whether Los Angeles in 2019 is depicted in that film to be a dystopia, or a utopia, however evidence from the film suggests that it was a dystopia, due to the climate, pollution and over-population of the featured LA. Many of the movies under the miscellaneous heading are subjective and up for more careful scrutiny when considering the definition of dystopia.


[edit] Governmental/social

A typical dystopia paints a picture of government or society attempting to exert control over free thought, authority, energy, freedom of information. Others focus on systematic discrimination and limitations based on a variety of factors - genetics, fertility, intelligence, and age being a few examples.

[edit] Alien controlled dystopias (both governmental and societal)

Alien controlled dystopias are separate from general dystopias in that they are enacted on a people by an outside invader rather than members of the oppressed' own species.

[edit] Corporate based dystopias (nongovernmental)

A corporate based dystopia is similar to a government/societal dystopia with the exception that the repressing power is a private company rather than a government. These stories generally include the motive of commercial profit instead of, or in addition to, the benefits of increased power and authority.

[edit] Cyberpunk/techno

Cyberpunk is a science fiction subset, characterized by a focus on "high tech and low life". "Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body."[2]

[edit] Post-apocalyptic

Post-apocalyptic storylines take place in the aftermath of a disaster - typically nuclear holocaust, war, plague - that has brought about the end to civilization. Although not a requisite, most post-apocalyptic visions have a man-made cause.

[edit] Miscellaneous

[edit] Disputed dystopias

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Cacotopia (κακό, caco = bad) was the term used by Jeremy Bentham in his 19th century works ([1], [2])
  2. ^ Notes Toward a Postcyberpunk Manifesto - Person, Lawrence first published in Nova Express issue 16, 1998, later posted to Slashdot
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