Truman Show Cunningham Douglas A A Theme essay

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Truman Show

Cunningham, Douglas A. "A Theme Park Built for One: The New Urbanism vs. Disney Design in The Truman Show." Critical Survey, Volume 17, Number 1, Pages 109 -130, 2005.

The focus on this article are the real cities and towns that are the basis and/or inspiration for the fictional town of Seahaven, the hometown of the protagonist of The Truman Show, Truman Burbank, as played by actor James Carrey. The article spends several pages simply describing the history of towns such as Seahaven, particularly in the state of Florida, where a number of Disney related theme parks are located. Cunningham charts the history of the town Celebration, a complete Disney owned and Disney operated town. Cunningham calls Celebration an example of "New Urbanism" and "manufactured happiness." Seahaven, like Celebration, is an example of manufactured happiness via a physical space, but whereas Disney World is for anyone who has a ticket for admission, Seahaven is a Disney World for one person, Truman Burbank. Cunningham compares Seahaven to a dystopia and a panopticon, a prison for one that meticulously surveils him without his awareness within a nightmare disguised as a blissful, suburban utopia.

"Although they share many of the same roots and goals, then, the differences between Disney's 'architecture of reassurance' and the New Urbanism become quite clear in the context of urban revitalization efforts. Disney's nostalgia and larger-than-life presence in Times Square seeks to erase difference and promote consumption. The New Urbanist efforts of HOPE VI, however, seek to celebrate difference by weaving people of varied income and race into existing communities. Despite these differences, however, a cynical equating of the New Urbanism with Disney design continues to loom. The Truman Show uses this cynicism to inform its creation of the town of Seahaven, a literal 'theme-park-built-for-one' where the principles of the New Urbanism get twisted in an effort to criticize Disney theme park aesthetics." (Page 122)

Knox, Simone. "Reading The Truman Show Inside Out." Film Criticism, Volume 35, Number 1, Pages 1-23, 2010.

This article commences with an overview of films released by Hollywood in the 1990s, particularly such films that question the nature of reality. The author is particularly intrigued by the concept of a show within a show as portrayed in The Truman Show and what that concept implies regarding commentary on the affects of mass media. The article contains a number of images as still photos from the film, as well as diagrams of the production design as geography and spatial relation in the film are also critical to this author's arguments regarding boundaries, borders, and poles. A most interesting point Knox makes is how the film is about a television show and that the filmmakers of The Truman Show the film use film shots rather than television shots to disrupt the narrative of the "The Truman Show" the television show, such as the example early on in the film when a light from the unseen grid high above the town/studio nearly falls on Truman Burbank's head as he departs for work. The author is very interested in moments of disruption in the television show and the film as a discourse for the disruptive power of media in human lives in general. Knox enjoys the debates the film creates between categories such as real & artificial, film & television, disruption & stability, and public & private. Knox, like other authors referenced elsewhere in the annotated bibliography, make references to and connections among The Truman Show, the writings and ideas of Jean Baudrillard, and Disneyland.

"Because it is positioned "on the edge," because it is both, and shifts between The Truman Show and "The Truman Show," this text enables (and, indeed, demands) a critical exploration of a range of boundaries and binary oppositions. I will argue that, while the film is ostensibly structured along the rather conventional binary oppositions of cinema / television, disruption/stability, reality/simulation and outside/inside, it subtly problematizes these oppositions in ways that reflexively raise issues around the very status of film analysis itself." (Page 2)

Niccol, Andrew M. (writer) The Truman Show. Writers' Guild of America, Scott Rudin Productions, USA, 1998.

The author of this bibliography located The Truman Show screenplay in full and without infringing upon any copyright laws…[continue]

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