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Gattaca is a 1997 science fiction film starring Ethan Hawke and Jude Law. It takes place in a dystopian future where many children are genetically engineered. Hawke plays Vincent Freeman, who wants to become an astronaut but cannot because he is not genetically perfect, while Law plays Jerome Eugene Marrow, a former swimming champion who was paralyzed due to a car accident. Vincent borrows genetic samples from Jerome in order to pass for genetically perfect. In this final scene from Gattaca, Vincent is able to go to space helped by Jerome’s DNA samples, while Jerome puts on his swimming medal and burns himself to death in his home incinerator.


How and why do we see a contrast set up between the two main characters and their destinies at the end of this film?

What does Jerome do before he commits suicide? What does Vincent do after the spaceship takes off?

How is disability represented in this clip? Specifically, what is the role of fire? How is one character sacrificed so that another can achieve his dreams?

Can you think of other stories where a character from one identity group is sacrificed so that someone from a dominant identity group can live? What is the message that these kind of stories promote?

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