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Analyse the opening sequence of Pleasenantville from the credits to the scene in which David & Jennifer are transported into the world of a 1950's sitcom

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Analyse the opening sequence of Pleasenantville from the credits to the scene in which David & Jennifer are transported into the world of a 1950's sitcom The opening sequence starts as a montage of shots (representing various channels) with extreme close-ups rapid editing and a cacophony of sound and dialogue. The overall picture quality is poor and the sound is of fragmented speech, giving an unpleasant effect. As the channels are being flicked through, you begin to be able to see a clearer view; but it is still quite rapid editing. The words Pleasantville appear in white on a black background, as we come to settle on a 50s sitcom channel. The pace of editing slows and gives you a comforting feeling; in contrast to the bombardment of colour, the black and white picture quality is better. A picture of the 'nuclear' family appears, and the fact that there are old cars, clothes, and the black and white picture tells us we are dealing with a different era altogether. An important voice-over tells us that there is going to be a Pleasantville marathon. We are then presented with images of Pleasantville in the form of photographs in an album. It is idealised; it appeals to people's nostalgic longing for those times. A man comes into the house from work and calls, 'Honey, I'm home', showing again the fact that it's a different era (where the women stay at home and the men go to work). ...read more.


We then focus back on Pleasantville; it looks staged, artificial and very unrealistic, but David finds the thought of a perfect, happy life comforting. David is sitting at a table with a friend, discussing the fact that the Pleasantville marathon is on at six o'clock this evening. David is modestly dressed and mild mannered. The camera pans swiftly across to twin sister Jennifer, and straight away, there is a comparison in the different styles of lives between the twins. We get introduced to Jennifer as the most daring of the trio, as we see her (mid-shot) smoking. She is portrayed as contemptuous, rebellious child. They are making comparisons between the two twins, and we see a group of boys start walking along. Jennifer's group start a conversation with the boys, repetitive use of words, and minimal teen-age vocabulary makes it all seem overly exaggerated and staged. She starts a conversation with a boy, (the leader of that group) and tells him that her parents are out tonight and MTV is on at six o'clock (important parallel, since it clashes with David's Pleasantville also at six). Jennifer is shown to be much more successful than David, and the boy says he will come. Jennifer is sitting on her bed, describing that day's conversation by means of another conversation. High-key lighting effect shows us that the film isn't to be taken too seriously. ...read more.


The man comes in, knowing the problem already, and opens the box (a pun again, 'reliable' written at the side of the box). David explains that the Pleasantville marathon is on and he wants to watch it, the man immediately puts back the remote he just took out. Jennifer explains that she has a date, but the TV man looks uninterested and ignores her. He goes on to quiz David on Pleasantville; David even manages to recall it better than him. The repair-man takes out a different remote, a bulky metallic looking transistor radio, and he says 'it'll put you right in the show!' Lightening crashes, and it is shot from a birds-eye view giving an eerie, super-natural feeling. David (we see him from a view which is looking up at him) slowly puts his finger over the 'on' button, and the music in the background builds up suspense. The TV is turned on, and David flicks through each channel one-by-one, until he settles on the 50's sitcom channel where it is showing Pleasantville. There is a parallel now between the real world and Pleasantville (colour and black & white). Whilst David and Jennifer fight over the transistor, Bud and Mary-Sue can be seen fighting over the remote. As they are fighting, Jennifer's hand slips and she presses the red button. The images of David and Jennifer start to become unclear, and start to crackle. Everything becomes slower, and the figures become digital almost, and then we see them on black and white on the TV screen, they have been transported into Pleasantville. ...read more.

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