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Gattaca, September 18

Genetic Screenings

Thursday, September 18, 2003
7:30 a.m. GATTACA
Andrew Niccol (U.S., 1997)

There are two kinds of citizens in the designed world of Gattaca Corp.: the Valids, who have been bioengineered, and the In-Valids, those unlucky few who have let nature take its course. Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is a rarity conceived by passion rather than by petri in a culture that enjoys the certainty of doctored babies. Gattaca (the name a play on the amino acids ATCG) follows its impassioned protagonist as he struggles to achieve his dreams in a gene-driven society. Why Vincent's parents have a "faith baby" is never determined, but Vincent's future is: a quick DNA scan tabulates his defects, along with his destiny—bad vision, a frail heart, and a sickly physique. But Vincent has unmappable traits like hope and faith. Determined to rise above his lot, he acquires a bootlegged genetic profile, falsified fingerprints, purloined nails, and all. Gattaca's sleek and antiseptic surface is eventually roiled by a murder, sending ripples of suspicion throughout the gene pool. Darkly moody, Gattaca proposes a biotyranny where a single hair out of place can mean the difference between life and death.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Niccol. Photographed by Slawomir Idziak. Music by Michael Nyman. With Ethan Hawke, Alan Arkin, Jude Law, Uma Thurman. (112 mins, Color, 35mm, From Sony Pictures Releasing)

Preceded by short:
One Breath
(Mary Klein, U.S., 2001). Experiencing each of the essential elements (fire, water, air, earth), a life-form evolves through levels of artificiality while an aria of patent numbers and recombinant inventions is sung. (8:40 mins, Color, Video, From the artist)

(Total running time: 121 mins)