The triangulation of another earth, moon and sunshine
Xie, Wilson Zhi Wei.
Date of Issue2012
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Science fiction space travel films typically concern themselves with deep space travel. Through their indicative titles, Moon (Duncan Jones, 2009), Sunshine (Danny Boyle, 2007) and Another Earth (Mike Cahill, 2011) seem to conform to such a convention. The evocation of non-Earth celestial bodies suggests that the emphasis of the films lies in narratival and cinematographic elements that expound the grandeurs of space. However, while the evocation of non-Earth celestial entities corresponds to the notion of space travel, these heavenly bodies simultaneously limit the boundaries of space travel. Additionally, the use of “Moon,” “Sun” and “Earth” qualifies as a specific concept which I term the ‘terrestrial celestials.’ The ‘terrestrial celestials’ functions as a near-Earth zone setting that reconfigures the idea of space travel through contraction, rather than expansion into deep space. By appropriating what J.P. Telotte calls “escape velocity” (A Distant Technology 19), one might argue that despite expansionary travel, these films cannot escape the pull of Earth and will consequently always return to Earth in their respective (visual and narrative) closures. Thus, in contrast with what Barry Keith Grant calls the “expansive thrust of science fiction” (18), these films reconfigure the meaning of space travel by triangulating their settings and narrative progressions in/around space close to Earth. Unlike other space travel films predisposed toward the allure, grandeur and spectacle of deep space travel, Moon, Sunshine and Another Earth display resistant qualities towards the expansion of space. What can we make of these peculiarities? In what ways does the films’ cinematography inform us of this contractionary impulse as opposed to the expansionary conquest of space? If science fiction films are about spectacular spectacles and visual effects, how does this reconfiguring of space inform our reading (or seeing) of the cinematic visuals?
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University