The Truman Show: A modern fable of truth and fantasy

Back in 1998, Paramount’s film “The Truman Show”, starring the famous Hollywood actor Kim Carey, used absurdity and exaggeration to tell the story of Truman, the protagonist of the popular soap opera. The film relentlessly approaches reality with a tight plot, allegorically showing the contemporary situation of people’s existence. Despite the bizarre plot and absurd means, no one seems to be able to deny the excellence of “The Truman Show”. The film’s bold concept, full of creativity, multiple themes in its methodical interlacing, but all without a sense of chaos plus is a natural and naked exposure of many of today’s most sensitive issues, so that people can not stop thinking about the positioning of comedy and make the hilarious after the deeper emotions, so that the whole film stands out. The film is not only a black comedy with a unique perspective, but also a fable with multiple thoughts.

01. The profoundness of the theme meaning

Truman lives in a small town called Seahaven. From the moment of birth, Truman has been under the close surveillance of hidden cameras, and the characters he touches are all designed by the soap opera director team, while Truman is ignorant of such a fact. Truman has been living under such surveillance for 30 years, and the media has a huge hand of power over Truman, who becomes a prisoner in the “Panorama Prison”. The panoramic view of the small town of Seahaven taken from above is one such circular building, which is certainly meaningful. Truman, as a prisoner of modern mankind, is in this panoramic prison, monitored by an unequal and powerful media power system, living transparently and without privacy like a fish in a fish tank. The Truman Show” means “reality show” in English. Truman’s World consists of a huge studio, thousands of cameras and a huge cast of actors. Each person’s life path is arranged by the director, and even each person’s emotions are controlled by the director’s team. The Truman Show”, as described by director Christopher, reflects the story of Truman, a real person, in a world built with falsehoods. In order to achieve a “true record” of Truman, the film’s director’s team shot Truman 24/7 under cover, with 1.7 billion people witnessing his birth, 220 countries watching him as a toddler, and the world spying on his first kiss. Such high viewership attracted a large number of sponsors. The show featured Truman’s wife Meru repeatedly facing the camera to introduce products such as lawn mowers and kitchen mates, while still not missing a chance to sell coffee to viewers in between fights with Truman. As for Truman’s best friend Marlon, he appears in a close-up shot of him drinking a beer and then says “That is a beer! In fact, the entire “The Truman Show” is a giant advertising show. Everything from the actors’ costumes, food, furniture, houses, etc. is sponsored merchandise and is openly available for sale. The program team has long established a complete and well thought-out sales system. At the same time, along with the release of this reality show there are a large number of derivative products, such as mugs with Truman’s head, pillows …… all this has brought huge revenue for the show. Undoubtedly, this bold and avant-garde filming method can satisfy all the audience’s desire for prying into the privacy of others. Truman’s reality show both entertains the public and brings huge advertising revenue. Truman’s World was entertaining for the viewers, objectively remunerative for the producers, and rewarding for the actors and actresses, while Truman was tragic. Because the success of the TV program is based on Truman’s right to privacy and the loss of mastery over life.

02. The profound meaning of the mirror

The mirror in the film has a profound meaning, the ups and downs of the mind is hidden in this film, the characters see themselves in the mirror through the reflection of the mirror, through the observation of the characters in the mirror of the language, action and subtle changes in expression, you can detect the ups and downs of the character’s psychological changes, multiple character traits. These mirrors not only enable Truman to see himself in the mirror, but also enable the audience to see Truman outside the mirror. Such somewhat magical mirrors will make the audience feel curious and confused, but after a short reflection it is not difficult to find that one end of these mirrors is exactly the camera lens. All of Truman’s actions are followed by an “eye” hiding in the shadows, whether Truman is inside a car, near a newsstand or crossing the road. This is a very realistic way of filming. The mirror shot is repeated twice in this film, the first time Truman stands in front of a mirror, practicing his performance in front of it, and the lines he performs also show his emotional changes at different stages, the first time he says to himself in the mirror, “I can’t do it anymore, you guys go on.” At this stage, Truman is suspicious of what is happening around him, including the sound of his whereabouts coming from his car while he is driving, and meeting his father on the street but not being able to recognize him, which is the psychological manifestation of his anxiety and the release of his self-repressed emotions. Then he said to himself in the mirror, “You can’t give up, sir, even if you break your leg, just climb up the mountain.” At this time, Truman experienced the first stage of doubt, anxiety and then re-encouraged himself to continue to track down the truth of the matter, he sought out his best friend Malone to talk and tried to go far away to Fiji, followed his wife to the hospital, risked taking his wife to drive across the bridge across the sea, this series of actions are his efforts to find out the truth of the matter. Then he said, “You’re crazy, you know that? If I die halfway unfortunately, you’ll eat me as food, it’s disgusting.” At this stage, Truman already knows the truth that he is at the mercy of others, and he inwardly rebukes the director Keith Dude for arranging all this, and at the same time feels disappointed with the familiar people and things around him, he will continue to escape from his bondage, even if he fails, he will not back down. The second time the film focuses on the use of the mirror shot is Truman after washing, standing in front of the mirror and saying, “Hello, report Major Bi, this is the Bi star system Truman star.” And drew a cartoon shape of space in front of the mirror. At this time, Truman showed two character traits, one is the Truman in Keith Dude’s script, he is cheerful and lively, unconventional, and even a little childish, but the reality is that he is a sensitive, delicate feelings inside, in the mirror refraction, showing two character traits, but also implies that different personalities will eventually lead to different endings. Truman’s line performance in front of the mirror is his own psychological change in different stages, and this change from initial doubt to final firm confidence. Secondly, Truman’s line performance in front of the mirror is initially his daily training for his dream of being an actor, but he is unaware that under the arrangement of director Keith Dude, he has become a big household name since birth, which is also a dramatic display that conveys a certain ironic meaning to the audience by performing dramatic lines in front of the mirror.

03.Speciality of composition

The Truman Show” mostly uses frames, door bars and other compositions to make Truman’s position in the picture in a squeezed and distorted state, rendering a depressing and painful atmosphere on the whole, which also indirectly reflects his life in bondage. When Truman discovers that the bondage he is trying to break is also false, he strengthens his determination to keep trying to move forward and break the confinement. The Island of Peachland, which Keith Dude strives to create, turns out to be a fictional city, and the people and things around himself are also a kind of director’s fiction and hypothesis. The design of the distant scene gradually distances Truman’s heart from the Island of Peachland and produces a certain psychological impact. However, there is also a day when Keith can’t control and is destroyed by Truman step by step, the smallness of human being is not only reflected in the world, but also wandering in various dreams and reality.