Saturday, October 3, 2009

films that incorporate love and sex with robots, dolls and mannequins

In my book CINEMA OF OBESSION: EROTIC FIXATION AND LOVE GONE WRONG IN THE MOVIES, we discuss many films with a Pygmalion story line.

Quick review of the myth of Pygmalion (compliments of wikipedia, this is the Ovid viewpoint):
Pygmalion was a Cypriot sculptor who carved a woman out of ivory. According to Ovid, after seeing the Propoetides prostituting themselves, he is 'not interested in women', but his statue is so realistic that he falls in love with it. He offers the statue gifts and eventually prays to Venus (Aphrodite). She takes pity on him and brings the statue to life, and they marry...

This is to me where we are going with our android love in the future essentially. Some of us are alienated by the world and would love to build something better than us to love and maybe worship.

As cinema and TV is the collective consciousness of society, I believe it forms the ultimate emotional beta-testing ground for most new thought concepts. The following are just a few movies in which androids and various dolls become objects of love and worship, or just friendship:

Jude Law and Ashley Scott in AI are simply sex workers. Although Jude Law's character is programmed to show sensitivity and emotional caring towards women, and even incorporates a little romantic tune to get things warmed up. He later helps fellow artificial being to reach his goal of finding his creator. This modern day fairy tale shows androids and ai, especially at the end of the film, to have more human warmth and compassion than humans do. But in typical fashion, humans just use the androids as slaves and toys and disposable trash rather than being responsible for the life they have created, simply because it is not traditionally biological. Future artificial beings are shown to be evolved far beyond humanity, kind and cruelty-free beings.

"It's hard to find a man with a good warranty" is the premise of Making Mr. Right.
The 80s seemed a prime time for cheesy movies about building the perfect man or woman. Although who would have thought John Malkovich would be considered the "perfect man"?

"When she comes to life, anything can happen" in Mannequin.
That's a rather symbolic statement in a feminist sense. Once you release a woman from just being a mannequin, anything could happen, couldn't it? Of course, this is the 80s, so nothing scary is going to happen when this sweet little mannequin comes to life.

Now we begin to move into strange new territory with Lars and the Real Girl. Now we are seriously looking at a man having a real human-like relationship with an artificial woman, treating her and interacting in an extremely caring way. However, it's due to a temporary mental illness. His "illness" is essentially loneliness and alienation from the loss of his mother. The doll becomes a healing mechanism.

This film was written by a woman, Nancy Oliver, who saw the craze over the the RealDolls (the next stage in blow up sex dolls for men - life size, fully anatomically correct sex dolls that are quote expensive), but I find it interesting that she incorporated it into the film in a completely non-sexual way.

This is the way I believe that androids will come into our everyday lives in the future. First in medical capacities (which is already happening essentially, though they are less humanoid in appearance) , and when they are shown to be an assistance to people in healing and care, it can move on more to innocuous "pets" and then companions, tutors, counselors, etc.

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