Tuesday, October 19, 2010

George Orwell's - 1984 (1984)

George Orwell's novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love. 

1984 is a 1949 dystopian novel by George Orwell about an oligarchical, collectivist society. Life in the Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control. The individual is always subordinated to the state, and it is in part this philosophy which allows the Party to manipulate and control humanity. In the Ministry of Truth, protagonist Winston Smith is a civil servant responsible for perpetuating the Party's propaganda by revising historical records to render the Party omniscient and always correct, yet his meagre existence disillusions him to the point of seeking rebellion against Big Brother, eventually leading to his arrest, torture, and conversion.
As literary political fiction, 1984 is a classic novel of the social science fiction subgenre, thus, since its publication in 1949, the terms and concepts of Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Memory hole, et cetera, became contemporary vernacular, including the adjective Orwellian, denoting George Orwell's writings and totalitarianism as exposited in 1984 and Animal Farm.
Sonia Brownell, Orwell's widow, owned the film rights to the famed novel. Shortly before her death in 1980, Brownell eventually agreed to allow the film to be produced only under the condition that no futuristic special effects be used.
The glowering, ever-watchful visage of Big Brother was provided by Bob Flag, a non-professional who was cast in the role after answering an open-casting call by the filmmakers in London.
For the role of O'Brien, Paul Scofield, Anthony Hopkins, and Sean Connery were all previously considered. Richard Burton joined the production six weeks into its shooting schedule.
Production on the film occurred in and around London from April to June 1984. Some scenes were shot on the actual days noted in Winston Smith's diary (for example: April 4, 1984) as well as at some of the actual locations and settings mentioned in Orwell’s novel.
Michael Radford and cinematographer Roger Deakins originally wanted to shoot the film in black and white, but the financial backers of the production, Virgin Films, opposed this idea. Instead Deakins used a film processing technique called bleach bypass to create the distinctive washed-out look of the film's colour visuals.
The film is dedicated to the memory of Richard Burton, as this was his last acting role and he died in Switzerland two months before the British premiere date.
Orwell said, when describing his intent in writing 1984:
"My recent novel [1984] is NOT intended as an attack on Socialism or on the British Labour Party (of which I am a supporter), but as a show-up of the perversions . . . which have already been partly realized in Communism and Fascism. . . . The scene of the book is laid in Britain in order to emphasize that the English-speaking races are not innately better than anyone else, and that totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph anywhere."
—Collected Essays

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