Monday, February 3, 2014

Putting Yourself in Truman's Shoes

I had never seen this film before, so while watching I tried to keep in mind the hyperreal aspects we've been discussing. At first, I saw Seahaven as a sort of Utopian society where everything was perfect. As Truman's thoughts of his life and what it had come to began to mature, I began to think of a dystopia of some sort. Although Seahaven did not go to turmoil (it was all a false representation), Truman's personal world did. What if you thought your whole world was fake? Would you react the same way Truman did? These questions often came about for me. I put myself in Truman’s shoes frequently, trying to gain a deeper insight of his emotions and his dream to get away.

One thing I really enjoyed analyzing was the editing and camera angles. In this clip, I counted around ten different places I saw cameras. For example, the camera attached to the old man’s trash can. It is so obvious, yet I never saw it until I was looking for it. This makes me wonder…was I so engrossed in the film that I simply didn’t notice?  Or did the director, Peter Weir, do such a great job portraying this hyperreality that I believed what Truman did? In any case, the angles in which Truman was being filmed accurately showcased the fact that he was being watched all the time. These shots demonstrate that very well. 

Truman from his car radio.

   From his favorite camera. 

View from the ship he utilized for his escape. 


  1. I love the camera work in this film, too! I love that Weir makes you so conscious of the "hidden" cameras by often having that blurred edge to the shots. But then I LOVE that when you get a clear view of Truman outside of one of those cameras, Weir tricks us into thinking this is an unmediated REAL shot, outside of any film. But of course, it's still completely filmed-- part of the movie The Truman Show rather than part of the TV show The Truman Show. This strikes me as aptly Baudrillardian in the way that the self-consciously filmed shots make us think that the other shots are not filmed at all...much the same way Disney makes us (mistakenly) see our own cities and towns as "real."


  2. Allie,

    I had never seen this movie either until class, and the first thing I noticed was the interesting camera angles, which suggested to me that he was being watched in some way. I didn’t know for sure until the scene panned to the waitresses watching him on the television.

    I would really like to go back and re-watch the film knowing what I know now about there being millions of cameras secretly set up all over his town. I wonder how different our society would be if we knew someone or a whole town even were being watched liked that. It sort of reminds me of London and the outrageous amount of hidden cameras they have lined up in their streets versus anywhere else in the world (a big brother effect).

    Here is an interesting article comparing the Boston bombing incident with criminal acts that have happened in London, and the hidden surveillance footage that has helped/hindered the society

  3. Ali, The end of that article is so interesting, as it explores how cameras might be the best means we have for protecting ourselves against terrorism and such, since it is less intrusive and costly than searching bags at entrances or installing metal detectors or what not. The article says that cameras are more "pleasant," I think because you can sort of live your life without thinking about them. That "pleasantness" seems so familiar from The Truman Show. As Baudrillard argues, when we diffuse the policing through cameras and make ourselves both viewers and the viewed, then we sort of lose the idea that we are being policed at all. It all feels so natural and unobtrusive and...pleasant. The Truman Show might suggest that pleasantness is not always as innocuous as it seems on the surface...


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