It is impossible for the individual who values freedom to be exultant in a society that is underpinned by rigid conformity. In the Novel “Nineteen Eighty Four” by George Orwell, a totalitarian future society is portrayed, through a man whose daily work is rewriting history and tries to rebel by falling in love. Whereas The film “Pleasantville” directed by Gary Ross, Two teenagers find themselves in a 1950’s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change the complacent world the portrayal how a dystopian and a utopian society, contest the value of time.
The ironic comparisons are seen through exploring social constructs which create a certain message which shapes a certain thinking of the audience. The text and film are challenging us to question conformity. The director of Pleasantville captures segregation, through the first medium close up of David, which shows him isolated against a blurred background, this stresses his outsider status.
This Camera Shot is one of many trick camera shots in Pleasantville, as David appears to be holding a conversation with a ‘pretty girl’ who doesn’t speak, and appears to be paying close attention to David, whose voice can be heard over the reverse medium close up shot. But as the view cuts to another wide angle, we see that the girl is nowhere near David, whose isolated against the now nearly deserted campus is doubly accentuated. The effectiveness of this technique is you see how David is trying to contest society by speaking to someone out of his social group by allowing the audience to believe he is speaking to her. nother example is later on portrayed through the first splash of colour in Pleasantville, which is a red rose seen by Skip. It is significant as it is the first colour object seen and through the close up shot shown you see Skip’s curious gaze. Red can symbolise danger, passion, blood, colour carries a lot of metaphorical weight. Although the black and white images are actually shades of grey, it is colour that brings distinction and change into the enclosed, supressed society.
This is an integral scene as you begin to see how the gender boundaries are being challenged, and how the individuals are beginning to expand their knowledge and become intrigued by what’s outside Pleasantville. The effectiveness of this is that the director uses colour as a symbol throughout the movie. In the early parts of the film, colour is used to symbolize dullness, strict and defined morality and conformity. The introduction of Colour is representing eccentricity, variety, diversity, pleasure and choice. The film is a construct which generates a certain message from the composer, it shapes the thinking of the audience.
We begin to see Pleasantville as not the ‘perfect’ world, there is no freedom and knowledge, we see this in the film through the introduction of colour. Right from the first line we begin to wonder, will have any freedom in this totalitarian future world. We are thrown into a dystopian world as the clock ‘struck thirteen’. This begins to tell the audience that there is no freedom, every thought , every action is already planned out. The use of language helps promote ideologies. Throughout the film, motifs are recurring, contrasting, and literary devices that helps us to understand the texts major themes.
These include; double think which emerges as the party’s massive campaign of large scale psychological manipulation arises. Double think is used to hold two contradictory ideas in one’s mind at the same time. This is shown when Winston is sitting in his cell in the ministry of love, thinking about what O’Brien had said ‘no’ to him earlier. “If he thinks he floats off the floor and I simultaneously think I see him do it, then it happens” (pg. 278), this line is effective as you see how the individuals are contesting society by ‘thinking on their own’.
Doublethink twists the words of an individual turning them into a darkened tunnel from which there is no light to help guide your way. Urban Decay is also used. Symbols are used throughout the text, they help us to represent an abstract idea or concept, big brother and the telescreen. These are significant as they help represent how someone is always watching. This is limiting societies actions and thoughts, through the use of fear of being caught and diminished. Throughout the streets of London, Winston sees posters everywhere showing a man gazing over down over the words “Big Brother is Watching You”, this had become the face of the party.
No one actually knows whether he existed or not, but he symbolised the party in its public manifestation, his name ‘big brother’ suggests his ability to protect. But there is then the ironic comparison, that through numerous number of posters everywhere it is representing how he is also a threat, as you cannot escape his gaze. You begin to understand the totalitarian society created through manipulation, and how it is run on fear. The Society has become intolerable for an individual who values freedom, to be happy where the ideologies are crushed and manipulation is used to rewrite history, preventing anyone from ever knowing the truth.
Overall, throughout 1984 and Pleasantville, the director and author portray how a society is supressed, lacking in individual freedom and how conformity is defied. Through knowledge and manipulated, a subtle but heavy handed atmosphere is created in ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’, as well as a sense of fear in the audience. Whereas in ‘Pleasantville’ there is the ironic comparison of the limited freedom resulting in a supressed society. We begin to understand and establish the values of their time, in a world where there is an indefinite amount.