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12 Monkeys

Presentation for "„Appearances can be... deceptive”: American Cinema from the 1990s to the Present" at the TU Chemnitz / Movie (c) 1995 by Universal Pictures

Alex Bern

on 19 November 2009

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Transcript of 12 Monkeys

The Visual Style of "Twelve Monkeys" "...if the world stopped today, and you can only take things down below now, what could you find down there?

These people put all this stuff together, and then had to kind make up things, jerry-rig machines together, so they're hydraulic and steam-driven. In terms of laser and all that stuff, we could have gone that way, but it's not as fun." Jeffrey Beecroft (Production Designer) The Future run down and dirty tunnel systems
sterile plastic and rubber
cages for prison inmates and “volunteers”
fragments of the “pre-virus-era” incorporated into environment
labyrinth-like tunnels
The Present
circular layout of the mental institution’s main rooms (day room, sleeping room)
hide-out of the “12 Monkeys”: green, organic
outside world: grey, artificial
circular objects dominate (bedroom, time machine, lamps, etc.)
everything is behind cages or locked away (games, prison inmates, TV, windows)
no open spaces
grey, cold and dirty environment

Time as Prison Cole is sent back in time to find the "12 Monkeys"

Meets Dr. Railly and tells her about the future / Railly beliefs him

It turns out the telephone number belongs to a carpet cleaner --> Railly's "prank call" involving the "12 Monkeys" A = B = C = C B A Madness vs. Reality can be defined as a certain degree of variance from societal values
definition changed dramatically over the centuries
middle ages: someone hearing voices was thought of having a connection to either Satan or God
modern society: hearing voices is an indicator for being crazy
Madness Economic Changes of Independent Movies independent film budgets were small
till the mid-80s they did not reach huge audiences
their box office revenues were small
"Stranger than Paradise" from 1984 earned $2.5 million
by the end of the 1980s movies, such as "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction" opened up to "Genrekino"

got bigger audiences, higher revenue
"Pulp Fiction" earned $107 million at cost of $8 million Hollywood had a vital interest in making its own independent movies
major studios bought indie studios and founded indie-subdivisions

budgets for indie productions heavily increased in the 90s
independent movies can not be identified by looking at their budget anymore

Economic Changes of Independent Movies Walt Disney bought Miramax
20th Century Fox founded Fox Searchlight Pictures
MGM used its subdivision United Artists as indie-studio Twelve Monkeys - Fact Sheet produced 1995 by Universal Studios
budget: $29 million
box office revenue: $168 million
is it an indie movie?!

The Panopticon new type of prison designed by Jeremy Bentham in 1785
“unequal gaze”: wardens can watch inmates at any time but inmates don’t know whether they are being watched
thread of being watched is enough for inmates to discipline themselves
Michel Foucault & Panopticism Michel Foucault (1926-1984) French philosopher, historian and sociologist

omnipresent surveillance in every aspect of life (schools, hospitals, etc.)
the panopticon stands metaphorically for a society disciplining itself
CCTV, online search tools but also time cards used by employers make surveillance possible
people in modern societies live in a panopticon
no unobserved spot to escape to
Reality is defined as "the state of things as they actually exist."
which reality is real?
Cole’s perception of reality changes with time
Dr. Railly’s perception shifts in the opposite direction

Madness vs. Reality Is James Cole "mentally divergent"? YES: sees people who are not there

hears voices which are not there Is James Cole "mentally divergent"? NO: bullet in his leg

photograph from WWI

knowledge of the boy in the well

knowledge of Railly’s recording
1. The Economic Changes of Independent Movies

2. The Visual Style of "Twelve Monkeys"

3. The Panopticon

3.1. Michel Foucault & Panopticism

4. Time as Prison

5. Madness vs. Reality

6. Social Commentary The Circular Timeline Content Social Commentary Goine's knowledge about the true nature of socienty is obvious Comments on: Insanity, television, consumerism,
expectations of society, etc Is he really crazy?
Full transcript