Peter Weir's 'The Truman Show': The ultimate hidden Camera Special
Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject Communications - Movies and Television, grade: 1,0 (A), Technical University of Braunschweig (English Seminar), course: HS Documentary Film, 16 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Through a spy hole in a bathroom cabinet we see a man in pajamas talking to himself in the mirror. Or is he talking to us? After a while, we hear a voice of a woman, telling him that he will be late. With a sigh, the man turns around and leaves the bathroom. On a black screen, we read 'Day 10, 909'- then we see the man through another spy hole, dressed in a business suit, leaving his house for work. He greets his neighbors with a wide grin, and the neighbors enthusiastically greet back. As he adds 'Oh, and in case I don't see ye: Good afternoon, good evening and good night!', they react as though they think this was extremely funny. When the dog of his next-door neighbor comes to greet him, the man freezes, on his face an expression of terror. He waits till the dog moves back and is about to get in his car when the camera suddenly pans and we see a theatrical light falling out of the sunny sky. Suspiciously, the man goes to examine what has crashed down on the street in front of his house. He does not know what to think of the light, which has a tag on it, designating it as 'Sirius'. In disbelief, he gazes into the sky- is this how stars look like? The man is called Truman Burbank, and we are watching Peter Weir's movie The Truman Show (1998). The movie is not a typical feature film as it mixes feature film elements and docu-soap elements. By confronting his audience with elements of its daily TV-programming, the docu-soap, Peter Weir establishes a satire of the media that leaves its viewers with the uneasy feeling that reality is not always what it appears to be. This work gives a short summary of the movie, as well as it depicts its style and structure. Furthermore, Peter Weir's thematic concerns are explained. The author describes docu-soaps and their appeal in order to explain which features of the docu-soap we can find in The Truman Show. The different levels of reality in the movie and the role of the audiences, that is, the tension between the perception of the viewers of the TV show inside the movie and the perception of the movie audience is another topic that is dealt with.
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