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Old FuturesSpeculative Fiction and Queer Possibility$
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Alexis Lothian

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479811748

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479811748.001.0001

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Queer Deviations from the Future on Screen

Queer Deviations from the Future on Screen

(p.175) 5 Queer Deviations from the Future on Screen
Old Futures

Alexis Lothian

NYU Press

As part 3 (It’s the Future, but It Looks like the Present: Queer Speculations on Media Time) turns to the cultural and technological reproduction of speculative futures imagined in audiovisual form, chapter 5 focuses on two speculative films whose genealogy in queer screen history is secure yet which rarely appear in canons of science fiction media: Derek Jarman’s 1978 punk dystopia Jubilee and Lizzie Borden’s 1983 lesbian political fantasy Born in Flames. It argues that that the construction of science fiction film as a heteronormative, capitalist genre defined by spectacular special effects obscures the work done by queer speculative independent film. Alternatively, Jarman and Borden project politicized futures into the people and locations of a present whose shifting temporal location refuses progressive teleologies. The films share an intense focus on media and communication even as they offer contrasting strategies for building futures out of a present moment saturated with representations of the end of the world. Jubilee brings the present to light as a dystopian future whose polite public face hides deep-seated violence; Born in Flames shows us how the politics of revolutionary transformation replicate the problems of the untransformed world through the failure to reckon with them.

Keywords:   feminism, film, lesbian, media, music, negativity, politics, punk, speculation, visual culture

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