Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

The Symbolism of Synthetic Space in Cube (1997): Postmodern SF Film as Consensual Hallucination

Ángel Mateos-Aparicio


This paper analyzes the symbolism of the fictional space of Cube (1997) in the wider context of postmodern science fiction literature and film criticism. Its main point is that the movie’s imaginary setting is a complex symbolic and metaphoric element whose ambiguous nature and connotative meaning enhances interpretation. The cube is a multiple metaphor that allows for the fictional exploration of the territory of the unconscious, of the contemporary social and political coordinates and of the general framework of reality. As a fictional space that reproduces the postmodern vision of reality through an artistic elaboration, the film can be read as a ‘consensual hallucination’, i.e. a virtual reality where real elements are transformed and reinterpreted and which is experienced by viewers simultaneously in order to achieve a deeper awareness of the ‘real’ world. In this sense, the movie epitomizes the role of science fiction film in postmodern culture, for it creates a virtual (fictional) reality that reveals the complex meanings and hidden structures of contemporary reality in Western technological societies.

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