Wolves on the Prairie and Worms in the Sand: From Colonizer to Colonized – The Inversion of Principalities in Western Films


There is a consistent desire to locate the worldview on animals. In the Cheese and the Worms, Carlo Ginzburg (1992) describes the universe in the mind of a medieval miller: the universe was formed from chaos, as if cheese had been curdled from milk; angels first appeared as maggots born from cheese. This implies the emergence of a treacherous idea from animal representations. However, recent popular culture has replicated this inversion. That is, a post-centrist view of colonization - the identity of the colonizer is inverted as the colonized in the form of cinematic expression.

In the once popular cowboy movie like Dances with Wolves (1990), wolves were always associated with the natives. These two kinds were born with the prairies until European colonists set sail for America. Yet, in recent science fiction films, such as Dune (2021), we find this image completed with the animals' imagination in a clever transformation: in the exploration of the stars, animals become powerful natives who can perfectly suppress the humans that come to explore. The colonists are set up as the weaker. Specifically, they are ignorant of the rules of the world despite their unparalleled industrial capabilities (homologated with the colonial era but more powerful). In Dune, the warriors of the original planet can resonate with the worms in the sand, mastering rules that are difficult for humans to understand in a knowing but unknown way.

This study will analyze such an inversion in films, and how it linked with the images of animals.

Author Information
Zimu Wang, China University of Labor Relations, China
Qing Xiao, Communication University of China, China

Paper Information
Conference: EuroMedia2022
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory

The full paper is not available for this title

Virtual Presentation

Comments & Feedback

Place a comment using your LinkedIn profile


Share on activity feed

Powered by WP LinkPress

Share this Research

Posted by James Alexander Gordon