Cross-Cultural Film Analysis - Gattaca

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Film Summary Vincent is destined to be a second class citizen, conceived naturally, rather than in a laboratory. He is born into a world which discriminates against genetics, rather than religion, race or gender. In order to gain access into the Gattaca Corporation and reach his dream of going to Titan he takes on the identity of Jerome Morrow, a person with ideal genes but crippled from an accident. He uses Jerome’s hair, blood, urine and skin to pass all tests and is set to reach his lifelong desire when the mission director is murdered. He inadvertently loses one of his own eyelashes at the scene and becomes the main suspect in the case. The killer is determined to be another of Gattaca’s directors who is initially
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Vincent’s interview for entry into Gattaca entails solely a genetic test and not a physical or mental assessment.

Manifestation of cultural differences: In the film we see the divergence of two very strong cultures. One belongs to the genetically gifted; and the other to the ‘degenerates’. The ways these cultures have divided themselves is explained well by Hofstede’s depiction of the ‘skins of an onion’ (Hofstede, 2005, p.6). The heroes in the film (the genetically gifted) are highly valued and show model behaviour to inferiors or naturally conceived people. Depicted as the more capable members of society the heroes display symbols which carry specific meaning such as formal hair styles and very professional, clean clothing. The heroes display rituals such as the day on the treadmill where they assert themselves superfluous to reaching a desired end as assessors are solely interested in genetic make-up rather than fitness.

Contrary to Hofstede’s view that values are acquired early in our lives we see Vincent’s values change significantly in the film. These values are a strong determinant of culture and as Vincent takes on the identity of Jerome he moves into the hero status of society, or as Hofstede describes it, from abnormal to normal (Hofstede, 2005). His move from second class status to hero status is a good example of how culture reproduces itself. His role models become the members of the Gattaca Corporation and he sees an opportunity to fulfil

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