Question 5 from the 2019 Paper - Describe either a realistic or unrealistic setting in the text. Explain how the realism or unreality of this setting helped you to understand a particular idea.
An unrealistic setting in Peter Weir’s ‘The Truman Show’ is the town of Seahaven. Through the use of different film techniques, Peter Weir highlights the idea of control in the unrealistic setting of Seahaven.
‘The Truman Show’ directed by Peter in 1998 was released during a time where the concept of watching people complete normal, mundane tasks was foreign. Reality TV was only in the beginning stages during this time, the programs that were on TV encouraged the idea of ‘The American Dream’, a perfect world where people had good families, nice homes, stable jobs etc.
Firstly, the town of Seahaven is shown to be unrealistic as everything is perfect and nothing ever goes wrong. When Truman (the main character), is walking to work there is a close-up shot of a newspaper prop with the headline ‘The best place on Earth, Seahaven voted planet’s top town’. This highlights the idea of control as it is there to encourage Truman to never leave as nothing else would compare to the town of Seahaven. The directors of the TV Show The Truman Shown need Truman to stay so they can continue to produce the show and make a profit off of it.
Secondly, the town of Seahaven is shown to be unrealistic through the use of product placement. Throughout the film, there are many camera angles, such as a close-up of Marlon (Truman’s best friend) and a beer, that show product placement in the TV show. The producers of the TV Show use this advertising as a way of creating more profit. Peter Weir uses the product placement in the film to show the idea of as when people are shown products in their favourite TV shows or movies they are more likely to purchase them. This means that indirectly people can be controlled by producers and directors from through a screen.
Thirdly, Seahaven is shown to be unrealistic through the way that Christof (the producer of the TV Show) controls everything that is said and done by different characters in relation to Truman. In one scene there is a close-up of Christof speaking into a microphone, telling Marlon what to say to Truman. Marlon’s dialogue ‘I would never lie to you Truman’ during this scene once again highlights the idea of control as everything that Marlon says, is controlled by Christof. Nothing that is said or done is honest or authentic.
Seahaven, in ‘The Truman Show’ is shown to be unrealistic in many different ways. The different film techniques used throughout the film both highlight this and the idea of control. The film ‘The Truman Show’ brings forth the idea that perhaps nothing is as it seems.