This evening’s entertainment was M. Night Shyamalan’s film ‘The Village’. The setting and themes in this film really couldn’t be any further away from science fiction in most respects, but it is high up on my list of all-time favourite films.
Why would this geeky girl, so addicted to twitter, facebook, and all things hi-tech enjoy the idea of the pioneer homestead life? It’s a paradox, I know, but there it is. I was raised on a twin diet of Star Trek and the Waltons.
But it’s not just me. Star Trek, in all its forms is replete with references to simpler times: real cooking, horse riding, paper books, classical civilisation and literature to name but a few.
There are also repeated instances of pioneering colonies setting out for distance planets – Terra Nova in Star Trek Enterprise, and the fledgling colony on Melona IV in TNG which the Crystalline Entity destroyed, for example.
It is as though, when we look either backwards or forwards we see glimpses of the utopia we’re looking for, a place and time with less crime, less misery, less complication. It’s just that nasty modern bit in between that’s not quite right.
Of course, the Village in Covington Woods is not all as it seems, but do they find their place of innocence in the end? I love the idea of intentional community where everybody lives in harmony. But there is usually a cost.
Skipping forward to DS9’s season 2 episode, Paradise, Cassandra who has engineered the community, brings her authoritarian leadership with her, not even mentioning that it is a community based on a lie. Paradise is a sham.
But is it necessarily always the case? We hope not. We hope that there is a Utopia out there for us somewhere, some when. We keep looking and trying, planning and scheming, digging and dreaming.