From: "M.A. King" <kingma@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 02:24:37 -0400 (EDT)
On Mon, 15 Jun 1998, Ian Robert Douglas wrote:
> I'd be interested in Foucauldian first reactions to Peter Weir's _The
> Truman Show_
Well ... my first, not-so-Foucauldian reaction (after having seen it
yesterday) is that it's not good enough to make up for the fact that I
already knew everything about it. Very heavy-handed. Ed Harris's
character is a cartoon (I mean, gimme a break with the beret). Both
Carrey and the actor who plays his wife are out of their league. I
would've been very interested to have seen Robin Williams play Carrey's
role. But anyway.
(One good moment: when Harris's director tells the music guy to up the
volume at a touching moment, and I realized that the movie soundtrack (at
the point, anyway) is also the TV show soundtrack, and I felt like I'd
been had. There ought to be many more moments like that in a movie of
such pretension, though.)
> also love it. I'm rather worried by the whole thing. I'm not sure what
> the function of this film will be. On the one hand I'm breathtaken by the
> possible effect of placing a man like Carrey in this almost entirely
> serious role. People are going there expecting to see _Dumb and Dumber_,
> and being confronted by satire, social commentary, refusal, awakening,
> liberation, rejection, the enticement of critique etc.
It's that if that's what you're looking for. You and I can't help but
read it in terms of Foucault and whatever else we're on about at the
moment, but it could just be another movie about One Man Seeking the
Truth (with bits of farce and lost love thrown in).
Anyway, doesn't the opposition of the real world to Truman's staged world
kind of defeat any Foucauldian purpose? What happens to Truman is on the
order of conspiracy; he suffers from something like ideology before he is
finally enlightened--and, as we see, liberation follows instantly upon
> body among thousands, packing out cinemas with multiple showings? Why is
> it selling, becoming part of the mainstream? For sure some people 'missed
> it'; laughing in the wrong places, or laughing because they needed to.
I don't know how much this matters, but at the screening I went to, nobody
laughed at all. Kind of eerie, really. Maybe by now everyone's been
trained to accept it as a Serious Movie. I dunno.
One interesting thing from a Foucauldian point of view, relevant to the
debate surrounding D&P some weeks back: when discipline fails to yield
the desired effects on Truman, the despot is forced to fall back on the
strategy of attacking the body more or less directly, trying to beat him
----Matthew A. King------Department of Philosophy------McMaster University----
"The border is often narrow between a permanent temptation to commit
suicide and the birth of a certain form of political consciousness."