Dystopia investigation presentation
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DystopiaHannah MoriceIntroductionThe aim of my research was to gain in depth knowledge of different types of dystopia in three specific films.
Key TextsV for Vendetta (2005) James McTeigueThis is a film about a man known as V who takes out his revenge on the oppressive totalitarian Britain and the people who have done him wrong. A Clockwork Orange (1971) Stanley KubrickThis plot follows Alex as he is jailed for murder and then put through a controversial correction process which asks the audience the question; Is it better to have free will and be bad or lose their freedom and be good?Battle Royal (1999) Kinji Fukasaku A random class of Japanese school children are chosen by the Government to battle to the death on an island. One will remain and be allowed to survive. The Dystopian Impulse in Modern Literature : Fiction as a Social Criticism (1994) M. Keith BookerThis text offers a political, psychological and historical analysis of different literary depictions of dystopias. Although this book is about literary depictions it doesnt matter as it adds to the overall understanding of dystopias and all of the studied texts are based on novels.Key TextsFifty Key British Films (2008) John WhiteA Clockwork Orange; This book discusses the impact after the films release and the decision to remove it from circulation in Britain. It also talks about how the events challenge British culture and the meaning of the world civilized.Studying British Cinema ; 1999-2009 (2010) John FitzgeraldV for Vendetta; This book discusses the roots of V for Vendetta, how it was inspired by Thatchers government and their policies and also the controversy around releasing it.http://litreactor.com/columns/book-vs-film-a-clockwork-orange - A Clockwork Orange; This article talks about the decision to keep the violence in the film by the director and the decision to leave out the ending of the book in the film where Alex decides to follow a more moral path.http://seenthefuture.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/studies-in-dystopia-battle-royale.htmlBattle Royale; This article talks about the book in relation to the film, how they both keep similar levels of violence/gore to keep the shock factor with the audience as the Government are forcing children to do this.Key Textshttp://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?DVDID=117300 V for Vendetta; This article mentions how the films marketing gave the impression of an action film when the actual film was a political thriller and about the fact it was post 9-11 and so there was a lot of fear of minorities which is explicitly tackled throughout V for Vendetta.http://quentezhodge.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/v-for-vendetta-final.pdf V for Vendetta; The essay analyses the Government in the film and peoples willingness to accept ways as they are along with the atrocities the Government can get away to keep power.http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/interview.aco.html A Clockwork Orange; The article discusses how one persons dystopia is another persons utopia in relation to Alex and his friends.http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&old=1&id=6685V for Vendetta; The interview talked about how they were able to film in front of the actual Government buildings and how the making of the film was actually a protest to the Government itself.
Key Textshttp://www.midnighteye.com/interview/kinji-fukasaku/ Battle Royale - This is an interview with the director talks about age in the film and the impact the film had on Japan including the questions asked.http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/03/how-battle-royale-became-a-cult-hit-and-capitalized-on-the-hunger-games/254184 Battle Royale This is an article discussing the affect of the film on Japan and other parts of the world and how the directors WWII experience was used as inspiration for some of the scenes.http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0070.html A Clockwork Orange This is an interview with Kubrick about the balance of violence in the film which causes the audience to feel conflicted about the films moral question asked. Aims of ResearchWhy are the films studied dystopian?What methods were used to convey the dystopia?Are there any historically or personally (to the director) significant events surrounding the films?
Discuss A Clockwork Orange researchWhy is it dystopian?The totalitarian government which apparently has worse morals than the personification of evil.What methods were used?The brutal torture of an inherently evil person which leads to a moral debate on weather its right to force someone to be good. Alex is evil, knows and accepts it, and is amazingly turned even less human by the governments process of making him good which somehow causes the audience to feel sympathy for him even though he is a monster. Violence is key here, it is used to firstly convey Alexs evil nature through all his beatings and raping of people and then secondly to convey the a-moral and also evil nature of the state. The moral decision on weather it is right or wrong to force goodness is deliberately left to the audience. Things that were viewed as pertaining to a certain class were challenged as, for example, classical music is enjoyed by Alex, a juvenile rebel, while many associate it with people who are of a high class. This is meant to emphasise Alexs detachment from society as social norms and expectations of is his class do not apply to him. The corruption of the dystopian world is emphasised by the coming together of criminal and police which become the same thing when Alexs old friend becomes a police officer near the end.
Discuss A Clockwork Orange researchAre there any historically or personally (to the director) significant events surrounding the film?The films release caused quite a stir in Britian, copycat crime was rampant because the film seemed to speak to the youth of today, and this eventually lead to the film being banned by the director soon after release. Many saw it as a film which merely glorified sex and violence.
Discuss V For VendettaWhy is the film studied dystopian?Theres a totalitarian, catholic Government which is corrupt, oppresses minorities and has killed their own in a ruthless attempt to gain and hold on to power.What methods were used to convey the dystopia?The back story of V is slowly revealed during the narrative, this allows the governments immoral and evil nature to shine through gradually. But one of the first things learned, without any back story, is that people arent allowed to leave the house after dark, this amongst other restricting laws imposed on people highlight their controlling totalitarian nature. The true evil is shown through the ruthless way they hold on to power such as killing a child for wearing a mask. The people who act as the police, the fingermen, attempt to rape Evey early on in the narrative, already exposing the corruption of the world early on as the people who are meant to act justly are criminals.
Discuss V For VendettaAre there any historically or personally (to the director) significant events surrounding the film?The whole concept is a future dystopian Thatchers Britain which is hyper conservative. Her government inspired the graphic novel. The actual filming of the film was a protest to government as they filmed the scene where the anonymous are crowding outside the houses of parliament actually outside them because it is a public building.Some of the scenes in the film are heavily inspired by the holocaust which allows many people to relate more to the film. The state act much like Hitler did and uses a race or minority as a scapegoat for their problems.The film is proudly post 9-11 as after then there was a lot of racism and fear circulating which is tackled in the film, although the release of the film did have to be delayed due to the tube bombings in London. Even after the delay many viewed V as a glorified terrorist.
Discuss Battle RoyaleWhy is it dystopian?The government is authoritarian and immoral. It is willing to send off children to kill each other to try and gain more control over them.What methods were used to convey the dystopia?Pretty obviously sending children to an island to battle to the death isnt very ethical and so this is a method but its mainly seeing the violent, gory deaths included in the film is what highlights the dystopia for the viewer. The age bridge between the adults and the children is another method. The adults say the children are unruly and wild however they actually respect them and have adult members of the family as their idols. This suggests a sort of social breakdown in the adult community and a need for a scapegoat, the children, who they have chosen to blame for their lack of a purpose and belief in themselves which is suggested throughout, most notably in the first scene when our protagonists father kills himself.
Discuss Battle RoyaleAre there any historically or personally (to the director) significant events surrounding the film?Kinji Fukasaku actually was a teenage soldier (16) during WWII and so his personal experience fighting has actually influenced much of the violence in the film. The film has actually been banned by the government for people under the age of 15 as they believe it is mentally damaging for them.
Conclusion From the research I have gathered, most dystopias are societies formed under a single oppressive, power hungry state. The main thing seen in dystopian films is violence, it appears they go hand in hand as they are a clear way to show conflict and power and so work as a device. Often, it appears the events or foundational ideas of the texts stem from real events and injustices in our own societies. The texts themselves appear as if they can be extremely influential on people, perhaps due to the accessible media and more exaggerated circumstances making the horrors more obvious than in real life.