One of the most significant aspects to the 1998 film The Truman Show is the prevalent theme of power and influence the media has on the public. The position the film takes on this powerful theme is how in control the media is on the thoughts and actions on the public. It symbolizes how submissive and even na??ve us humans, especially Americans, can be.
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What The Truman Show is trying to make aware to viewers is that as a society, we need to not rely on the media as much and we need to learn to think for ourselves. The Truman Show heavily emphasizes how that the while media can manipulate very little, it can change our entire perspective on virtually everything. The Truman Show portrays this by showing multiple formal and cinematographic elements throughout the film while also revealing some symbolic elements as well.
One cinematographic element that heavily influences the idea of power and influence in the media is its prominent use of non-diegetic and diegetic camera movements. Through the use of different camera movements, viewers can see and assume how Truman is feeling in the movement. For example, in the scene where the stage light falls from the sky in front of Truman, he picks it up and reads the label on the stage light. After reading the label on the stage light, Truman then proceeds to look up to the sky. This scene is one of the few natural shots in the film which shows and symbolizes Truman’s growing suspicion and perplexity of the world around him. This can also be observed by the fish lens camera angles when viewers are watching Truman in his bathroom or other private areas which represents Truman’s invasion of privacy. With that being said, almost the entire film is compiled of different camera angles, primarily high and low camera angles, to help audience member indicate the state of mind Truman is currently in, in that scene.
Aside from the more formal and cinematographic elements involved in influencing the theme of power and influence, there are copious amounts of symbolic elements throughout the film. One of the most prevalent examples of symbolic elements in The Truman Show is Christof. Christof represents everything wrong with the media. Viewers can obviously see this through his manipulative actions and attempts to try and prevent Truman from the knowing the truth about him. This is symbolic of everything wrong with our society today. As Americans, we are so invested and involved in technology, especially social media, to the point where no one knows what information they’re obtaining is true or not since almost all information is someway manipulated.
Christof also represents a sort of God like complex by how he is in complete control of everything little detail pertaining to Seahaven. This is also evident when he is conversing with Truman through a microphone with Truman having to speak to the sky in order to communicate with Christof.
In contrast to Christof and everything he represents, Sylvia is symbolic of the truth. Viewers can clearly see this through the fact that Sylvia was the only person who even attempted to tell and show Truman the truth about everything. Viewers can also imply this because every time Truman thinks of Sylvia, he is always one step closer to discovering the truth about everything going on around. With all that being said, Christof and Sylvia are direct symbolic contrasts on each other with Christof symbolizing the manipulating ways of the media and Sylvia symbolizes the truth that’s possible within the media.
In conclusion, The Truman Show expresses the powerful theme of power and influence the media has on society. The 1998 film effectively does this through many formal, cinematographic, and symbolic elements. Overall, with the use of multiple different camera movements, viewers can make observations as to how Truman is feeling at the movement. Different camera used to describe Truman and how he was feeling in each moment in the film includes high angle, low angle, fish lens etc… These different camera angles and the use of them are crucial to the plot of the film in the concepts of control and invasion of privacy. One of the most important symbolic aspects in The Truman Show is the portrayal of Christof in the film. The reason why Christof is so relevant is that of the way he epitomizes everything wrong with the media and this is made evident to viewers who can obviously see this through his manipulative actions and attempts to try and prevent Truman from knowing the truth about him and the whole he’s lived in his whole life. In contrast to Christof, Sylvia is symbolic of the truth which viewers can imply because every time Truman thinks of a flashback or memory related to Sylvia, he is always one step closer to discovering the truth about everything going on around him in the pretend world of Seahaven.
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