The aspect of sound cannot be established off the written media. The modulation of sound from time to time draws the viewer’s attention. It extends our imagination that if we were in such a place for more than a few months our mind would stop. Thus, this effect used by the Director adds to the film’s impact about a totalitarian future to be bleak, austere looking and frightening. The narrator, Winston Smith talks about his actual thoughts, what he truly felt and believed. We as an audience are given full insight into the danger of dictatorship by these thoughts.
‘War is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength’. It makes us create a vision against such a regime and Government wherein citizens have absolutely no freedom. Michael Radford has brought to light these harsh realities. Sound as a technical aspect is portrayed in a loud, subtle, simple but effective manner. Thus, combining sound and light this film can be regarded as a greatest cinematic adaptation from a well known book about futuristic speculation. The art production or set design is another technical aspect that has truly impressed me.
It gives an encompassing ambience of tyranny and a wail of despair. All the elements have been used to such perfection that they make the film stand out so well. Michael Radford has created dark and dingy London using appropriate sets. Even the thought of strolling without adequate arms is unimaginable. Adding to the film’s impact the props seem as though they are directly picked from a garbage van. Everything from the office to the houses to the utensils is unkept, completely broken, and in a ruinous condition.
These are signs of no prosperity. Even to go home from work roads and pathways are sunken in dirt and filth. This shows how unclean the environment was built by a party whose thoughts were even worse. Subconsciously these props add on layers of information that helps in better understanding of the story. The sets and background show very cold atmosphere. There is no sign of growth, any plants, trees or flowers. This is visible because when every character speaks, there is mist coming out from the mouth. They are covered from head to toe.
In every corner whether it is the cafeteria house, office or streets there are films and droplets of moisture condensing, the land was devoid of light. This depicts how defeated everyone was in comparison to the ruling class. Besides being subjugated by rigid political system, the very act of thinking was condemned. ‘They can talk to you, they can make you say anything, but they can not make you believe it, they can not get into your heart’. These were the thoughts that lead Winston Smith to not fear rebelling. ‘If there is hope it lies in the pro’s.
If they can be conscious in their own strength then there would be no need to conspire’. The sets used give an impression that although fought miles and miles away war was fought nearby. The choice of props, locations and clothes added immensely to the tension of the scenes. The apartments were squalid and dilapidated; each day was bleak, filled with consumer shortages and the endless nagging of the old TV boxes in the background.. There were no curtains. There was no form of privacy and they always feared being watched.
Everything was dull, drab and lifeless; there were broken walls, buildings surrounded by even more rubble and decay. The lifts did not work. It was a state of depression. The garbage was littered all over the state. The clothes differed from rich to poor. The poor had to wear unironed, rugged clothes whereas the rich wore crisp and clean ones. A demarcation existed. The poor were given stale meat and sugar as a meal. That’s all. The utensils, gas stove, crockery, trays were prison like. It was a mundane lifestyle.
They lived as an abject of squalor and poverty. There were rats all over the place, devouring on anything. It was a brutal and gruesome sight. The only props that looked new were the posters of Big Brother and O’Brien’s office where glasses werenot broken, wine was served, and it was spic and span. Hence, the sets serve their purpose correctly; they indicate to the audience that the government seeks to utterly crush human spirits and that as long as tyrannies exist and governments lie, people will have to keep on surrendering and giving up their freedoms.
The film focused on the cons of a dictatorial regime which was based on the principle of control. ‘Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past’. It has left such an indelible impression. Earlier I thought it was impossible to truly capture the message of the book into a two hour film, However I have come to the conclusion that the director has done a fine job in extracting the core thoughts of the author to give a spectacular cinematic experience.