Special Report By Moira Sullivan
An interesting minifilmfestival took place October 12 and 13 in Stockholm Sweden, entitled 'Alien Goes Queer'. All four of the Alien films were shown with a queer analysis of the character of Ripley played by Sigourney Weaver. In between film screenings were readings of Ripley on themes such as 'Alien Films and the Heterosexual Matrix'.
In Alien Ridley Scott's film made in 1979 the point was made for how is it possible for Ripley to squash aliens from left to right, take command of her ship but in the end of the film be displayed in minibikini underwear. Why was it necessary to put in this heterosexual signature? Perhaps because although Ripley is allowed to do what other women can not she nevertheless must somewhat parallel the role of women in modern civilization.
Then there is the alien itself, ripe with interpretation. All bets are off for this creature and what it can do. In Ridley Scott's film it has sex with Ripley's spaceship Nostradamus, whispering 'You are my lucky star' while Ripley suits up to defend herself. The character of Ripley according to Ulrika Sjernqvist destroys heteronormality in the film. And so does The Alien which does not need fertilization and reproduces with people. In Aliens , James Cameron's 1986 film, the strong female character of Vasquez serving as counterpoint to Ripley, calls her 'Snow White'. And Ripley develops affinity for a young girl called Newt, perhaps Newt for Newter as well as a robot-- something which Louise Wallenberg says is the compensation factor for Ripley's lack of human motherhood. This reoccurs in Alien Resurrection with the character played by Winona Ryder.
In David Fincher's Alien 3 comparisons are quite clearly made to the AIDS virus and incomplete chromosomes. That being said, Ripley hits it off right from the beginning with one of the doctors, who later is devoured by an alien. But in this film Ripley has become what she fears, a human alien host and after it bursts our of her chest, takes it with her to her death Later in Alien 4 she is cloned and returns again. She returns to the primordial slimy ooze of the alien's lare to fulfill her destiny as a woman. Circle complete.This time she helps the queenmother alien give birth to a halfhuman half alien who is part Ripley-- and that she later like Newt tearfully has to let go of. It is quite clear there is room for more alien film and with Sigourney Weaver as executive producer there is no doubt she will look for more ways to invent herself on the borderline of heterosexuality-- not quite queer nor exactly human.
This is Moira Sullivan for Movie Magazine International, Stockholm, Sweden
© 2001 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 10/01
"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index
"Movie Magazine International" Home Page