I read the 1984 novel by George Orwell to get the ideology of the dystopian world from him and to get an idea of how it could be translated into a movie.
After watching the movies portrayals – the 1953 version and the 1984 version (which I will be focusing on) I was bitterly disappointed, especially after reading the reviews.
I would like to state that John hurt played a very convincing Winston Smith in the movie and the movie did tell the novel very well, however I do believe that people who have not read the novel before hand might be a little confused with the plot. None the less the movie as a story telling medium was good.
As I am looking at the movie in terms of the cinematography and the way it expresses the atmosphere of the the dystopian world I was left high and dry.
For example in this scene. the prop designers have gone to length to make everything look old and battered, however it still looks very clean and ordered. When I was reading the book and it was talking about the tele-screen in Winston’s house I was imagining this little box set that although small created a whole uneasiness in the room. Winston is sitting there writing in his book away hidden from the tele-screen but that isn’t really potrayed in this shot. It just looks like he is sitting down. I imagined him to be tucked away in a kind of inglenook, constantly cautious of the eyes of the tele-screen upon him.
“His pen had slid voluptuously over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitals – DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER over and over again, filling half a page.” (Orwell 18)
This is what Winston should be writing in this shot. There are no up close shots of him scribbling away in a “self-induced trance and vehemently wrote down his true feelings towards Big Brother and the totalitarian government.” It comes back to the questions that I asked at the end of the movie – The Book of Eli , when it relates to the cinematographers view on what is going on in the scene and how best to go about it. My big three questions are to use are these
WHAT? WHY? HOW?
This is asking what is going on in the scene. What are the dynamic motions that are happening?
Why are they happening? there must be a reason for these things to be happening for the story to tell its tale.
Final How best can this be portrayed to the audience. We need to feel the reason for it. The emotions the impact of what is happening.
In this shot I can only see that the first one of these questions have been answered.
- Orwell’s 1984: Are We There Yet? (crisismagazine.com)
- Social Realism and Nineteen Eighty-Four (leechildshrugged.wordpress.com)
- George Orwell’s Letter on Why He Wrote ‘1984’ (metafilter.com)
- George Orwell (abbymaxwell.wordpress.com)