Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WELCOME TO PLEASANTVILLE - "We're supposed to be at home, David. We're supposed to be in color!"

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Yesterday's blog about neighbourly love reminded me of a 1990's film called 'Pleasantville'.  Teen siblings get magically transported into a 1958 sitcom, where they find themselves in a very black and white world with old time values.  What they don't initially realise is that they bring with them a hint of colour, which over time changes the inhabitants of Pleasantville in many ways.  The siblings' biggest influence on this town was by way of introducing the locals to sex and books.

Pleasantville was literally in black and white.  This symbolizes the innocence of the 1950's and the strongly upheld idea of conformity.  Colour then became the symbol of knowledge and breaking away from the homogeneous ideals of the elders.  There was an unspoken message about racism and the townspeople's idea of everyone being the same, even though the entire town is Caucasian. 
Witherspoon & Maguire as siblings
transported back in time to 1958

Pleasantville was a town where everyone was happy in their lives, nothing went horribly wrong and no one questioned anything.  The teen siblings found all of this naivete extremely stifling and frustrating.  Although Toby Maguire's character was more embracing of their predicament and tried to make the best of things.  But Reese Witherspoon's character was hell bent on getting back to their own time feeling the limitations of being a girl in the 1950's.

One of the most interesting aspects of this film was when the siblings discovered that all of the town's books were blank.  When they recounted the stories that were supposed to be in these books, the pages magically filled with words and colours.  The town's youth then become really excited about reading, as a whole new world had been opened up to them.  This euphoria was then extinguished by the burning of those books to prevent the people from changing too much.  The elders' strangle hold on the town became stronger. 

  As the movie progressed, there was more and more colour injected into the town and its people.  As the inhabitants of Pleasantville finally shed their innocence, the siblings started to wonder if their own time was indeed better or not.  They saw some value to this strange and backwards society.
As I mentioned in my blog "Camelot Shmamelot", there was so much repression, ignorance and discrimination in the 1950's.  Why do we continue to look upon that time in history as Camelot, as the time of old fashioned values with all the goodness of white bread?!  It's a wonder...

You Can 'Rock Around The Clock' with these items...

Pleasantville [Blu-ray]


Vintage Clothing 50's "I Love Lucy" Style Blue Jacket

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