Filmmaker Maja Borg worked with adults and children with Down's sydrome in her new film, Others, which premiered exclusively on Dazed. Here, she talks more about her philosophy of difference and why genetic testing is antithetical to human individuality.
We The Others
Is a short cinematic poem about the value of physical diversity. From ancient philosophy, through religion, Eugenics and humanism to modern projections of a high tech future, there seems to be a question that we need to debate over and over; what is human value? And how can we cultivate this value in order to evolve to a better, perhaps even perfect race?
With increasingly sophisticated technology, our ‘power to choose’ increases together with the ethical dilemmas these choices bring. Present day screenings for genetic conditions, such as Down’s syndrome, might just be the beginning of choices that we are encouraged to make in the future. But do we have a holistic enough understanding of the consequences of these decisions? What can we lose as a society if individuals with different perspectives on the world are lost in the process? And how do we avoid repeating past mistakes made in the name of science, health and progress?
The film is set in 2030 at the fringes of a civilization built on a hundred year old projection of the future. Here live the outcasts whose existence is being predetermined. They all have in common the similar physical characteristics of Down’s syndrome, but in this world, they are the embodiment of everyone who does not live up to the norm and are therefore not at the top of the genetic shopping list for the future. Feared by all as the ‘others’, ‘they’ are in fact most of us.