Movie Highlights How Fear, Surveillance Used To Control Populations
The Producer of A Scanner Darkly, the much anticipated avente garde cult blockbuster that premiered Friday, says that among the many influences for the film's underlying themes are contemporary concerns about surveillance, the concentration of power in society, and the use of fear to manipulate populations.
In A Scanner Darkly, the government, corporations and the elite conspire together to keep free thinking, free expression, freedom itself on the outside-- to facilitate a perceptive wall confining individuality itself to a realm doomed to the fringes.
The film chronicles how power interests exploit the drug war in order to create unthinking armies of drone servants and erect police state measures to prevent the people from ever glimpsing the dark truth behind a highly mechanized surveillance panopticon.
A Scanner Darkly is a powerful dystopic film set in the terrifying near future-- a world controlled by high-tech surveillance and ruled by a liberty-destroying police state. Director Richard Linklater picks up where he left off with his ground-breaking Waking Life-- its rotoscoped look has now advanced exponentially into a startling visual element which only supports the themes of this new film. A Scanner Darkly is a heavily researched, amazingly conceived blend of Phillip K. Dick's acclaimed novel and the frightening real technology emerging in our threatened world.
The film stars Keanu Reeves, Robert Downy, Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder and features Alex Jones himself-- still bullhorning the truth in the future nightmare world. The Warner Brothers film was released Friday and is to slow burn across the country over the next two weeks.
Producer Tommy Pallotta appeared on The Alex Jones Show to discuss some of Scanner's parallels with contemporary sociological and political developments.
"With the Patriot Act and everything else that was going on - the war on terror - it started to feel a lot like the war on drugs before, this enemy that you couldn't really see and how fear was a way to manipulate people," said Pallotta
Scanner was an update on Dick's book as the premise was expanded from the backdrop of the war on drugs into the war on terror.
A distinct flavor of the press reaction to Scanner has been their insistence to focus on one aspect of the movie, not necessarily the humor, the astounding artistry and hallucinogenic feel, but the way the surveillance state is portrayed.
"It seems like right now we have and administration that says we have no rights, we have no privacy - they can do whatever they want and that's alarming when it becomes that overt the people are starting to respond and I think the press has really been picking up on that," said Pallotta
"The people in this film are responding to their environment and that's really the empathy I feel towards these people, they're sort of canaries in the coal mine and they're trying to find freedom - they can't really find freedom."
"We always have to be critical and we have to be worried about our freedoms and I think right now is a really good time to start asking questions about what's going on and what freedoms are we giving up."
Pallotta said that the major actors in the movie, all of whom took massive pay cuts to appear in the film, were empathetic to the surveillance themes partly through having to live with being constantly surveilled themselves.
"Everyone who was there really believed in the project," said Pallotta.
"Actors are really sensitive to surveillance - if you think about what they have to go through on a daily basis that they're constantly being recorded and people are always watching them."
Pallotta outlined another influence for the film that was used to overlay the theme of how power is subtly exercised to control populations.
"One of the main things that attracted me to his was French thinker Michel Foucault's book Discipline and Punish - in that book it's sort of a history of the penal system and he talks a lot about prison systems and how they arose in western culture and really how they used surveillance and the threat of surveillance to control and manipulate people and that spread through all sorts of institutions."
Keanu Reeves recently slammed the modern day police state and surveillance society during promotion for A Scanner Darkly at the Cannes film festival.
"Certain personal rights that were protected in the (U.S.) constitution for privacy are being chipped away at under the guise of homeland security without redress, and that's not good," Reeves told Reuters.
Pallotta stressed that if the film is available in people's local cinema they need to see it this weekend if the movie is to receive wider attention and that the Scanner team need the support of the people to enhance the impact of the project.
He noted the fact that different people use different tools of communication to increase awareness of important issues and challenges in society.
"I think the important thing is to stand up and be heard on a daily basis - I make movies - they come out every couple of years and that's my form," said Pallotta
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