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The Truman Show

Reviewed by Bernard Bonnet from France

Bernard Bonnet
Photo:
S. Peters

A crazy project, a terrible idea to film a guy as soon as he was born and to build around him a huge studio set that looks like a town.

 

 

Director: Peter Weir

Type: Drama, Fantasy

Actors: Jim Carrey (Truman Burbank)
           Laura Linney (Meryl)
           Noah Emmerich (Marlon)
           Natascha McElhone (Lauren/Sylvia)
           Holland Taylor (Truman's mother)
           Brian Delate (Truman's Father)

Country/Date: USA/1998

Homme Libre Toujours Tu Chériras La Mer
("Free man always you will cherish the sea")

Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal

The Truman Show is the kind of movie that typically the entire world has seen except me. I do not know why a priori I resist and finally miss these sorts of movie when they come out. Fortunately, we saw some segments in class to illustrate the topic on the invasion of privacy. I was immediately seduced by the tone of the movie and the principal actor, Jim Carey; and when our teacher stopped the video, I was so frustrated that I asked to borrow the tape in order to see the end at home.

I had been trapped. And the end is wonderful. You know that Truman is the hero of a TV show. A crazy project, a terrible idea to film a guy as soon as he was born and to build around him a huge studio set that looks like a town. Big Brother is an angel compared with the director of the show who had this idea. Every moment of his life is watched. Every object is a camera. Everybody around him is an actor: his wife, his parents and his colleagues. There is a loving snag in the scenario that will make Truman more and more suspicious and therefore aware he has been manipulated all his life.

Seahaven is ironically the name of the town. Effectively it is a safe place since everybody is a "wrongman" except Tru(e)man. The wonderful idea of the movie is that the concept of the end is included in this town's name. To escape, Truman gets on a boat. From the beginning of time, men have always dreamed in front of seas, staying on the shore or going on the waves. The sea is the faraway horizon and if we travel on the sea, the world can be endless. The sea is death or eternal freedom (besides, the psychoanalytical lecture of Truman's relationship with water is not the best side of the movie).

His pitiful Odyssey ends in a superb and extremely strong image, when, after a tempest worthy of the beginning of cinema (we don't believe in it a second), the calm returns and his boat strikes the horizon. The sky was a carton wall. What is wonderful is this idea that the end of his world is, at the same time, the opened gate of the world.


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