Writing 305: The Politics of Visual Rhetoric

A trip to the Moon (1902)

Related image

Source: www.denofgeek.com

The short film from the beginning of the 20th century depicts a group of Caucasian-looking, male explorers conquering the Moon. Upon their arrival in a bullet-like ship (itself a metaphor for penetration by the Western invention of the firearm), the explorers proceed to step out of the craft to begin admiring the novel environment of the new planet. Their excitement perhaps captures their desires to seize the resources of the virgin land for industrial purposes, which was shown in the film before as essentially controlled by the explorers. The Moon, as the new frontier, becomes a source of wealth extraction for the betterment of the few – the wealthy.

On the Moon, the crusaders encounter a group of “indigenous” inhabitants, who are depicted as bearing spears and fighting the conquerors in an effort to defend their habitat. Clearly, neo-imperial images are reproduced throughout the film, whose main figures are the Westerners battling the “unknown” and potentially dangerous environment in a heroic manner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *