In his 1998 film “Pleasantville”, Gary Ross uses a fairy-tale and colour contrast to explore the notion of personal/individual/artistic freedom. The film addresses the notions of diversity and freedom. It is also made clear that the film is an allegory; this is shown by Ross’ use of the words “Once Upon A Time…” at the very beginning. The film explores conflicts of the 1950s era, Ross also uses this film as a metaphor to for tyranny, order and conformity. He uses his characters to emphasise the suppression of their lives. He also uses colour in an interesting way, it is used to show different freedoms gained at different times during the film.
Ross uses Mr Johnson (Bill) to show the lacking personal freedom in the town itself. Mr Johnson is the first person we see to realise that he is in fact lacking his own freedom. This is shown by Mr Johnson having no confidence working alone and also by him worrying about mundane details of his job. This comes about to us when he speaks for the first time and utters the words “There aren’t any cheeseburgers.” to Bud (David) showing that he has no self-confidence whatsoever. Colour starts to come into the film when Mr Johnson realises his life and job are both boring and he begins to question his life meaning after Bud leaves him to close up the Soda Shop by himself. The pure amazement in Mr Johnson’s eyes when he is seeing inside the art book, that Bud has brought him, for the first time. The camera angles Ross uses on Mr Johnson’s face when he is looking at the artworks to convey his passion for the art and his pure interest in painting. When the storm flows into the town of Pleasantville one evening Betty decides that she is going to stand up for herself, she does this by going to Mr Johnsons soda shop and staying the night. The next morning when they awake their world is vibrantly coloured. Ross uses this scene to emphasise the vast changes happening in their perfect town. Ross makes the scene...
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