Western ideologies and Cinema: The Paralles between the Cold War and the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Essay by lmnopCollege, Undergraduate May 2005

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In order to get an idea of the values, belief systems and overall ideologies of a culture, it is sometimes helpful to look at the stories that culture tells; whether it is through their art, literature or even cinema. In Western culture, cinema plays a very large role in this story telling. Many movies accurately depict social attitudes, and individual behaviors of the American public. One of these movies is Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

One way in which this movie depicts American culture is by examining the fact that it was made during the Cold War era. The plot of the story, along with the characters, describes the American social perspective of that time. For example, there is a very strong "Us Vs. Them" mentality in the movie. The human beings symbolize the Americans during the war, as the pods resemble the Soviets. The humans are depicted as warm, wholesome small town folk.

The pods, on the other hand, are depicted as cold, evil and emotionless beings that collectively work to destroy human society. This was a common perspective Americans held during the Cold War- the Soviets were cold, calculating people who would work collectively to spread communism around the globe, and ultimately destroy American culture.

Although the pods in the movie originate from another planet, at first it is very difficult for the humans to recognize that they are amongst the population. They look like the other humans, and for the most part they behave the same. The main difference is the pods are devoid of human emotions. This lack of human emotion is significant in many ways. First, it has often been said that the cold war lasted so long because neither side (America or the Soviet Union) was able to understand the other. Their...



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