Beings, beasts and machines ready for their close-ups

Like a lot of people, I made a point of watching Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) again before his prequel Prometheus came out last month. One thing that struck me on this viewing was how frequently Scott uses close-ups of non-human faces, indeed of mere things. I had certainly noticed individual shots on previous viewings, but it was only during my latest encounter with the film that all these images began to jostle together in my mind, and that I began to realize how Scott was using them to further one of the film’s key elements, which is the recurrent blurring of the lines between human, animal and machine.

Consider these images, captured from the film:

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