Intertextuality In Pleasantville

967 Words4 Pages
Pleasantville (1998), the picture perfect example of a 1950’s America. Life is pleasant where everyone knows their place. The movie takes place in mid-1990s’, as David (Tobey Maguire), lives a depressed and mundane life. His salvation appears in the form of a fairy-godfather, as he and his sibling Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon), are teleported into the world of Pleasantville, a utopia-like lifestyle that brings with it a pleasant existence, where life ran smoothly in “black and white”. This passion-less world is brought forward by director and producer Gary Ross and the ideas of change. Ross conveys the ideas of change, through the use of intertextuality. Intertextuality is when the creator of any media
…show more content…
The decision to incorporate paintings that are both history making and society changing. The first painting to appear in Pleasantville is Masaccio’s, Expulsion from Eden. The painting shows the like-like portrayal of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden. The painting creates the view that with knowledge comes suffering and as both Adam and Eve learn of shame (both of their nakedness and disobeying Gods’ requests), the physical reaction of shame is quite obvious. It relates to Pleasantville’s civilians (who are in technicolour) and the shame they have experience due to the (now) colouring of their skin. As they have experienced the new knowledge of simple pleasures, they then have become ashamed of this. An example would be of Betty and how she would originally wear makeup to cover the colour of her skin. Cézanne’s, Still Life with Apples and Oranges, was a major break with the tradition Renaissance-like paintings and art. This art completely abolished the idea of conforming to existing traditional styles of art. While at first the art looks casual with nothing out of place. The way the artist had created the work, gave the illusion of multiple different view-points. The colours chosen by the artist give the works permeant movement and this reflects life within Pleasantville. Pleasantville originally looks plain and simple (because it is), but at a second-glance, changes begin to happen and their (Pleasantville civilians) lives begin to change. Each of their views begin to change and they begin to clash and collide. Titian’s, Venus of Urbino, is a painting depicting a naked woman reclining on a bed in an intimate position. This paintings it mimicked in Pleasantville, as Bill Johnson (Jeff Daniels), paints Betty as the woman in Venus of Urbino. The painting was created after Betty and Bill celebrated their love, as does the
Open Document