Harrison Bergeron (film)
Infobox Television Film
name = Harrison Bergeron
runtime = 99 minutes
Jon Glascoe (uncredited)
Sean Astin Christopher Plummer Eugene Levy Miranda de Pencier Howie Mandel
country = USA
language = English
released = August 13, 1995
website = http://www.cypressfilms.com/filmography.html#6
imdb_id = 0113264
"Harrison Bergeron" is a 1995 cable
television moviefilm loosely adapted from Kurt Vonnegut's 1961 short storyof the same name (see Harrison Bergeron). It was produced for Showtime, and first screened on August 13, 1995.
The film takes place in a dystopic future in which the US government mandates total
egalitarianismin all things, by having everyone attach wearable mind "handicapping" devices to their heads and showing only mind numbing shows on TV. The story centers on a high school student named Harrison Bergeron whose extreme intelligence makes him something of a pariah. He is ultimately recruited by a secret organization whose purpose is to operate the functions of society that cannot be handled by the unintelligent.
While he thrives in this environment for a time and even meets a girlfriend there, he ultimately pays a personal price and comes to see the true social structure as unethical and immoral, and thus rebels - even if it means making a sacrifice.
Harrison Bergeron lives in a typical suburban town in the near future. The audience is told that after the second American Revolution—a war begun due to an ongoing economic depression that was a result of a combination of technological advancement and a widening disparity between the very rich and the very poor—it was mandated that all people be equal in all things. To this end, the social norm of this society has become egalitarianism. Citizens strive to be of equal wealth, intelligence, athletic prowess and social status to all around them. Through a process of selective breeding, mankind is perfecting the perfectly average human being. What is not accomplished through arranged marriages is made up for through technological means, the most prominent of which are only showing mind numbing shows on TV, and a headband device worn by all citizens which modulates intelligence, dialing up or down a person's IQ in order to arrive at a 'perfect' 100.
There are limits to the success of the devices, however, and Harrison Bergeron is one such case. He is a total failure in school, consistently receiving A's (C is the desired grade). Even though he has been held back four years and his headband is consistently modified to dampen his intelligence, he still continues to excel to the embarrassment of him and his family.
Harrison goes to see a doctor about his intelligence problem, and after several tests it is determined that the headband is unsuccessful because Harrison's synaptic connections reroute themselves after each adjustment in order to overcome the inhibitions the headband is designed to place on the thought process. He is told that he will have to have an operation akin to a lobotomy in order to permanently lower his intelligence.
In his last day with a fully functioning brain, he goes to a "head house", where illegal device-free women are paid to play chess and conduct intelligent conversations with the clients. Unfortunately, his first intelligent conversation ever (with "mind whore" Phillipa) is interrupted by a police bust. While being held captive in the police station, he is approached by a special agent who offers him an alternative to the lobotomy - to join what turns out to be the secret elite that runs the government.
Harrison falls in love with Phillipa there, but he illegally impregnates her and she is lobotomized for trying to escape. He feels he can no longer continue to betray his values and decides to take action. He breaks into a TV studio and reveals the truth about the secret society to the viewers. Eventually, the guards break through, and later on he is forced to make an appearance on TV and pretend the broadcast was not real. Instead, he uses his chance to commit suicide in front of the viewers. Bergeron's parents are too distracted to be shocked by it.
In a final scene, a young boy and his friend get together in his bedroom to watch the first four hours of Bergeron's broadcast, without their bands. Downstairs, one boy's mother looks up the stairs with a look of recognition on her face; she is seen to be Phillipa.
"2081" (remake for 2009)
"2081" will be a remake of the 1995 movie Harrison Bergeron that will be set for release between Summer-Fall of 2009.
Based on the short story Harrison Bergeron by celebrated author Kurt Vonnegut, 2081 depicts a dystopian future in which, thanks to the 212th Amendment to the Constitution and the unceasing vigilance of the United States Handicapper General, everyone is finally equal... The strong wear weights, the beautiful wear masks and the intelligent wear earpieces that fire off loud noises to keep them from taking unfair advantage of their brains. It is a poetic tale of triumph and tragedy about a broken family, a brutal government, and an act of defiance that changes everything.
Featuring an original score performed by the world-renowned Kronos Quartet (Requiem for a Dream) and narration by Academy Award Nominee Patricia Clarkson (Far From Heaven, Goodnight and Good Luck), 2081 stars James Cosmo (Braveheart, Trainspotting, Narnia), Julie Hagerty (Airplane!, What About Bob?) and Armie Hammer (Justice League).
2081 Trailer and Information at:
"Harrison Bergeron" was filmed in
Ontario, Canadaand the University of Toronto Scarboroughcampus.
"Harrison Bergeron" was nominated in four categories at the 1996
* Best Direction
* Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
* Best Production Design or Art Direction
* Best Sound
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