Plenary Speaker, Julia Lesage - Part 5

Uploaded by cahEIU on 20.05.2011


And there's a lot of shifts to color in the course of the film.
This is one of my favorites because it's very delicate,
the move to color is really beautiful,
it's beautifully affected, and I think that the contrast then
of course, between coming to awareness, coming to a sense of
personal identity and the William H. Macy's staying
within the parameters of the television show "Pleasantville"
and being a kind of cardboard figure, as it were,
are very obvious in the way the characters are presented
in the two scenes.
Now Bud has been judgemental against his sister because she's
introduced the kids in the town, the boys, her boy
and then, by extension, other members of the basketball
team have introduced their girlfriends to sex in the town
and they've gotten sort of full of color,
and Bud wanted to keep it just like it was in the TV show.
So he's critical of his sister, but in this coming scene Bud
introduces new and even more important disruptive elements.
And whereas his sister just thought it was important to
have sex, Bud understands the moral imperative of
what he's doing and he can't back down from changing
the town because he knows what he's doing is important.
Everybody has a right to knowledge,
to grasp the broadest scope of the world outside your
own experience, to learn the value and joy of reading.
This scene also has some tableau-like moments that
sum up its lessons, ending in front of the town library.
But perhaps unnoticeable on first viewing,
the background music is Dave Brubeck's "Take Five",
which was very innovative for its time.
That cool jazz, of which Dave Brubeck was a foremost
innovator, stood outside of conventional musical norms.
So the playing of that cool jazz in the background is also a way
of establishing the changes going on in Pleasantville.
It isn't necessarily that these young people would
know Dave Brubeck, but it's another one of those
introductions of a musical element to support
the expression of the theme.
[no dialogue].
[background jazz music].
(Mary Sue). Hey.
(Bud). Hey, what's going on?
(Mary Sue). I'm not sure.
They want to ask you a question, I didn't know how to handle it.
(Bud). Okay.
How you doing?
You wanted to ask me something?
(male speaker). How'd you know about the fire?
(Bud). What?
(male speaker). How'd you know
how to put it out and all?
(Bud). Oh, well where I used to live
that's just what firemen did.
(male speaker). And where's that?
(Bud). Um...outside of Pleasantville.
(male speaker). What's outside of Pleasantville?
(Bud). It doesn't matter,
it's not important.
(female speaker). What's outside of Pleasantville?
[no dialogue].
(Bud). There are some places
where the road doesn't go in a circle.
There are some places where the road keeps going.
(everyone in sync). Keeps going?
(female speaker). Keeps going?
(Bud). Yeah, it just keeps going,
It all keeps going, roads and rivers.
(male speaker). Like the Mighty Mississippi?
(Bud). What?
[no dialogue].
I thought the books were blank.
(male speaker). They were.
(Mary Sue). Okay, this was not my fault.
When they asked me what it was about
I didn't remember because I read it back in tenth grade
When I told them what I did remember,
that's when the pages filled in.
(Bud). The pages filled in?
(Mary Sue). But only up to the part with
the raft, 'cause that's as far as I read.
[audience laughter].
(male speaker). Do you know how it ends?
(Bud). Yeah I do...
(female speaker). So how does it end?
[no dialogue].
(Bud). Well, okay.
Let's see they were running away--Huck and the slave.
They were going up the river, trying to get free.
And in trying to get free they see that
they're sort of free already...
Oh my God.
(male speaker). What about this one?
(Bud). Oh, yeah, this is great.
This kid Holden Caulfield, he's a really lonely kid...
(male speaker 1). Sheesh, look at them,
It's spreading all over the place.
(male speaker 2). Look at her books.
(male speaker 3). Look at her sweater.
I mean going up to that lake all the time is one thing,
but now they're going to a library?
What's next?
(male speaker 2). You're right, somebody ought
to do something about that...soon.
(Dr. Lesage). It's really wonderful that
this scene ends with a slight smile on Tobey's face,
I mean on Bud's face, because he's understood
the importance of his own moral intervention.
And he's actually shifting in his ability
to accept change in Pleasantville.
He stays black and white for most of the film,
it's interesting to see.
Now, the scene here ends by introducing a chorus of
conservative men, the villains of the piece,
led by Big Bob, the Mayor.
In 19th century theatrical melodrama, there's often
a clear-cut villain, whom the audience could love to hate.
This film follows in that vein, unlike "The Ice Storm",
which concerned itself more with psychological pitfalls.
Notice how the male villains are differentiated from the heroes
in Pleasantville, namely Bud and Mr. Johnson, and this is done
through casting, costume, and blocking of the actors.
Here, Big Bob the Mayor seems a bully just by his
very physical assertiveness and we'll see much more of
that in the clip that will come.
By the way, this will be my last clip,
and I'm particularly interested in using it to show
the depiction of the men, and again to note these tableaus
in which the men are sort of summed up by the
visual instance in which we find them.