The new independent science fiction film JIM addresses misgivings about the long term results of continued movement towards genetically engineered humans.
The term “test-tube baby” originated as far back as 1930-1935 and refers to “an infant developed from an ovum fertilized in vitro and implanted into a woman’s uterus.” At one time people found the idea of in vitro fertilization threatening, and against the laws of God and nature. Now in vitro fertilization is a fairly common and widely accepted practice. Science fiction has developed images of babies literally grown in human sized tubes, rather than in the womb of a human woman. These images, along with real world scientific progress, have led to fears around the idea of genetically manufactured human beings; and a world where people are (even more decidedly) divided along rigidly defined class structures.
Advances in the field of genetics have caused many people to speculate on the potential pitfalls of genetic engineering. We already eat genetically modified food on an almost daily basis. We know for certain that cloning is possible. Although there are currently strict guidelines in place, many people wonder when genetically engineered humans will become a reality, and what the consequences of such a reality would be. JIM is a film that looks at those questions and concerns:
Being steadily crushed under the weight of debt, unemployment, and increasing isolation, Jim reaches a breaking point. Over a game of solitary Russian roulette he contemplates an unspeakable act of violence as a way of leaving his mark. He is stopped short by a vision of his deceased wife who convinces him that he should instead focus his remaining resources into an act of creation. Armed with his wife’s frozen eggs and a new resolve, Jim secures the services of a large biotech firm to help him create an heir who will be engineered to overcome the obstacles of common men.
Meanwhile in the distant future Niskaa, the leader of a group of genetically modified beings, controls a race of worker clones in a super-industrialized, post-human Earth. As he tries to restore his decrepit empire he comes face to face with a young clone that shows an unprecedented capacity for reason and empathy. Somehow connected to Jim via dreams, the clone manifests secrets of Nature that Niskaa has not accounted for…
Take a look at this fist clip, which aptly illustrates the appeal of a genetically engineered child. Who would want their child to suffer with the limitations that we ourselves were born with, if such limitations could so easily be avoided?
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The second clip shows a commercial, which again, demonstrates the attraction of the services that “Lorigen Engineering” provides. Commercials are often used to great effect in a film to add to a sense of disquiet, of misplaced priorities, and to highlight the disturbing insincerity of a smile that hides a multitude of sins.
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The final clip is the introduction of the relationship between Jim and the young clone from the future.
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Science fiction often works as a cautionary cultural tale, and western science fiction in particular tends to warn man against his own hubris - against the blasphemous results of man “playing God.” We see this in The Terminator, The Matrix and countless other popular works of science fiction. The film Gattaca looked at a future ruled by the genetically superior and came out in favor of the human spirit. JIM looks to be a film that will follow a similar trajectory in its storytelling, cautioning us against our desire for “perfection.” The film also has the potential to effectively parallel current socio-economic concerns with an imagined future - which is what the very best of sci-fi can do.
JIM will have a limited release in New York and Los Angeles beginning October 8th. The film will screen at the Quad Cinema in New York from the 8th through the 14th of October; and at the Sunset 5 in Los Angeles from the 15th through the 21st.
For more on the film please visit the website jimthefilm.com