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The Truman Show

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Discuss an idea in your studied text that caused a strong reaction or interest in you as a reader/audience.

In The Truman Show, I was interested by the way the director, Peter Weir, conveyed his opinion of the power of the media in today's society. He used many production techniques to hold the audience's interest, while clearly demonstrating his position on issues such as manipulation through media, the naivety of the audience, and the ethics of reality TV.

Camera angles have been used is to create a sense of unease. Because all of the cameras in Seahaven are hidden, Truman is often shown from unusual angles to remind the audience that he is being watched. When he is in his car, we see him from a low angle from the camera hidden inside his radio, then a mid shot from the camera inside his side-view mirror, which automatically adjusts itself to keep him in the shot. These unusual angles emphasise the fact that Truman is being spied on, with the purpose of making the audience feel uncomfortable. Another example is a close up through Truman's bathroom mirror, where he secretly entertains himself, pretending to be two mountain climbers. While the audience may be taken aback that this shot, as well as many others, is so intrusive, they are the ones who stay to watch it, and in doing so, they are inadvertently endorsing the show and increasing its ratings. As Christof, the creator of the show, argues near the end, "The world, the place you live in, is the sick place." I found this an interesting justification. I think Peter Weir is trying to show that reality TV can be unethical, and that we as an audience are the ones who encourage it by watching.

The part of The Truman Show that I found the most interesting was the subtle allusion to religion. In the opening credits, it says "created by Christof". Christof's name sounds like "Christ", and if we look closely, his shirt and coat vaguely resemble a priest's collar. These things tie in with the fact that Christof is "playing God" to Seahaven, controlling everything, even the weather. He has a God-like control over Truman's life, and consequently, the lives of millions of viewers--just as the media tends to have God-like control over our society. Near the end, when Truman tries to escape, Christof goes to great lengths to dampen his efforts. He makes the sun rise in the middle of the night just by saying "cue the sun". Once he has found Truman, sailing away, he decides to create a storm. He tells the crew to "increase the wind" and "give me some lightning". He gets so carried away that he almost kills Truman, and when a member of the crew protests that they "can't let him die



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