"I'm from the Future: You Should Go to China." Looper and the Rise of China in American Science-Fiction Cinema

by Robert Gordon Joseph

Institution: University of Dayton
Department: Communication
Degree: MA
Year: 2014
Keywords: Communication; Rhetoric; Film Studies; Looper; China; American cultural apprehensions; representative anecdote; film studies; rhetoric; science fiction; genre studies; co-productions; American science-fiction
Record ID: 2024467
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=dayton1398955613


The past decade has seen a large number of film co-productions between Hollywood studios and Chinese production companies. These co-productions reflect the continued rise of the Chinese box office, and a desire by Hollywood to cash in on the emerging market. Among these co-productions is Looper, a cinematic collaboration between Tri-Star Pictures and DMG Entertainment. Along with its co-production status, Looper is significant in its unique portrayal of a future featuring a dystopic United States and a prosperous China. Viewing the film as a "representative anecdote," this thesis argues that Looper represents United States cultural apprehensions towards China. By the circumstances of the film's production and its on-screen portrayal of the future, the film reflects the distinct American fear in which China is the dominant world economic power. The film accomplishes this through its appropriation of science-fiction cinematic conventions, particularly regarding utopia, dystopia, and "alienation of the familiar."