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The Village
August 23, 2005 3:35 PM   Subscribe

[Spoiler] I've just been watching a movie called 'The Village' and I have a question. Do not click in here if you haven't seen the film because it will really spoil your enjoyment.
posted by feelinglistless to Media & Arts (29 answers total)
 
I'm posting this as the first comment, because more insides show up in the RSS feed. Anyway ...

I think you can probably guess what the question is. So. Much as I enjoyed 'The Village' (I think it's Night's best film to date) something is niggling me. How plausable might it be -- could a group of people go off and start a community away from the modern world without us know about it? Is there a real life case and was it discovered after the fact?
posted by feelinglistless at 3:37 PM on August 23, 2005


"I see boom mics"
posted by fire&wings at 3:37 PM on August 23, 2005


Well, a guy lived up in the Yukon for more than 8 years before being discovered by a helicopter randomly. I'd say it's definitely possible, if done right (and with plenty of tree cover. Or even underground!).
posted by loquax at 3:51 PM on August 23, 2005


fire, if you saw boom mikes, then the theater you saw it at didn't put the gate on the projector.. There is a scene wehre a boom is visible...as marked by the IMDB...but if you saw boom mikes all over the place....

It's the theater's fault.
posted by filmgeek at 3:52 PM on August 23, 2005


could a group of people go off and start a community away from the modern world without us know about it

But didn't someone (well, someone) know about it?

If some eccentric multi-billionaire bought a huge piece of property and lobbied the FAA (or whatever) to interdict the airspace and hired guards to patrol the perimeter... it's not implausible to me that the public-at-large could be kept ignorant.

As to whether the people inside knew about the outside, I'd surmise that it would be pretty inevitable that someone will find out about the outside world (like in the movie).
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:14 PM on August 23, 2005


I think this ongoing argument about framing in 35mm film and the appropriate position of the gate is ludicrous. I was a movie theater projectionist as a young(er) person and in my opinion, and the opinion of every single (union member and well-trained) projectionist I've ever known - not to mention several editors and effects supervisors in H-wood - anything in the frame that is not supposed to be there is the fault of the cinematographer, director and editor.

The projectionist should not be put in a position to edit the shape or size of the frame after the film is already in the can; this is simply ludicrous. We're not dealing with old changeover systems and 35mm or 70mm frames with an extra bit of bleed around the edges; 35mm is 35mm, full frame is full frame, and there hasn't been any extra on the edges for a projectionist or anyone else to be responsible for in more than 15 years.
posted by luriete at 4:14 PM on August 23, 2005


I think the hard part would be living away from the modern world without all of the people in the village knowing about it.

Exploration is pretty fundamental to the human psyche, and those monsters just weren't that scary.

Plus, you just know that the real human response to "there are murderous monsters living in the woods" is "let's kill them!"
posted by mr_roboto at 4:14 PM on August 23, 2005


(sorry to derail, but this is important and it addresses several earlier comments)
posted by luriete at 4:14 PM on August 23, 2005


Without really finding out where the National Park exists in the film it's hard to say whether the settlement depicted could, in fact, be duplicated in real life. If I remember correctly, one of the park warden's (not the guy who met the daughter at the wall) warned the younger warden about asking too many questions and to possibly ignore anything strange he might witness at the park. Also, I believe it was a no-fly zone even though you never really find out the reason for it (maybe for the settlement, maybe something else) so it's possible that the inhabitants were not just hiding but being hidden on purpose.

You find out their reasons for the settlement, but never why the outside world had to keep it hidden. With that much help, I'm sure it would be possible to hide any group of people, in a somewhat remote area, for any given length of time.

Now, without the assistance this particular group received it would be probably be a lot more difficult and you would have to find a far more remote area (if the country in question is heavily populated, I got the impression that it was the US in the movie). Someone, at some point in the history of a village like that (that was not being hidden for official reasons) would almost assuredly stumble across it.
posted by purephase at 4:16 PM on August 23, 2005


PurplePorpoise: But didn't someone (well, someone) know about it?

I meant 'us' as in the general populace. Could be kept a secret from us?

mr_roboto: Exploration is pretty fundamental to the human psyche...

Too true. But aren't we all beholden to the personal universe we're brought up in? If someone gives a provable reason for set of circumstances, you'll follow. Plus I thought they were pretty scary.

posted by feelinglistless at 4:21 PM on August 23, 2005


I think the movie hints at the inevitability of the veil being lifted. Hurt brings the girl in on the deception not just because of the immediate need, I think, but also as the first member of the next generation who will continue (or not) the deception.

I didn't love the film but I appreciated that it left a lot of the conclusions about the right or wrong of their scheme and the larger moral meaning to the viewer.
posted by phearlez at 4:30 PM on August 23, 2005


The big thing to me that seemed silly was all the problems caused by not having medicine.

If they are just going to lie about stuff anyways, why not have a "magic" pill fountain or something like that in the middle of town that is supplied by underground convayer belts.
How would that be a problem for anyone?
posted by Iax at 4:47 PM on August 23, 2005


yeah, and when they actually need medicine, why the hell would they send the BLIND girl out into the real world when there's a dozen adults who all presumably spent the first halves of their lives living there and could easily find a drug store? this movie pissed me off.
posted by subclub at 5:07 PM on August 23, 2005


I suppose if you had enough money and pull it would be possible for at least some time (multiple generations seems improbable, as the film itself shows). What I didn't get is why going off by themselves in the woods would suddenly make them revert to archaic speach patterns.
posted by duck at 5:34 PM on August 23, 2005


They recently found a previously unknown 300 foot waterfall in a California national recreation area. article

Not the same, but it shows that even big stuff can go undiscovered as long as it's hard to get to and has good tree cover.
posted by smackfu at 5:54 PM on August 23, 2005


Some cults have created their own "worlds" where the outside world knows little of what goes on inside the cult, and the cult members are brainwashed enough to not leave. Similar outcome, different effect.
posted by wackybrit at 6:58 PM on August 23, 2005


I'd say it's very possible, though location is everything.

Driving through the U.S., I'm amazed to see a little town every few miles on most major roads...almost a constant stream of civilization. There were exceptions through parts of Texas, etc. of course.

My wife (orig. from Alabama) is amazed when we drive through Canada that you can find roads where it's an absolute necessity to bring a jerry can full of gas because one full tank won't get you where you need to go.

I grew up travelling through such places and I could easily see someone hiking off the the middle of nowhere and living off the land without disturbance.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:09 PM on August 23, 2005


Every once in a while here in New Zealand someone will just disappear off the grid. A couple did it recently and, from memory, wandered out of the wilderness of their own accord only to find that they'd been all over the news for weeks. Not long after that a man went bush up in the North Island. Around here, if you have no one to notice your disappearance it can be quite easy to just walk into a forest and not come out.

(There used to be a sort of urban legend that the moa, an extinct species of giant flightless bird native to NZ, still lived in remote parts of Fiordland. Even now it's quite believable.)
posted by tracicle at 7:23 PM on August 23, 2005


"Some cults have created their own "worlds" where the outside world knows little of what goes on inside the cult, and the cult members are brainwashed enough to not leave. Similar outcome, different effect".

*Jonestown*
posted by Mack Twain at 8:37 PM on August 23, 2005


The archaic language in the movie seemed to me to be the founders' wistfullness for a bygone era. I thought it was kind of an awkward archaic language, showing that the founders "invented it" and also as a clue from M.Night to the movie's secret.

Could it happen? Maybe. William Hurt's murdered father was very very rich. Money can buy a lot of things. Including, probably, a large plot of land with a wall around it in the middle of nowhere, a no-fly zone, patrolmen, and a believable explanation for all of it.

You know what's funny? It never occurred to me that one of the adults should have gone for the medicine. Maybe they were afraid they'd be tempted to stay.
posted by clh at 9:57 PM on August 23, 2005


The no-fly zone wasn't to keep the place hidden from us, it was keep us hidden from the village.

Likewise, the problem of keeping the village hidden from us is trivial compared to the problem of keeping us hidden from the village - if you have a large fenced area of private property, looking for all the world like a non-public nature preserve, miles from anywhere, and you're not a celebrity, why would people care what's there?

Kids will explore past fences, but if you're miles from the nearest family and off the grid, that's not an issue. Burglers likewise aren't inclined to hit a random property in the middle of nowhere when they don't know where in the forest to start looking for a house that they don't know even exists. There might not even be a road to the fence (though there was a road around it), using offroad vehicle, helicopter of boat access, so the only way to see it would be from the air, and even without the no-fly, if you're viewing it from the air, you have no interest in some tiny village that's just another among the thousands that dot the country.

The biggest problem would be a government tax evaluator or property inspector, and money can probably solve that too.

I think it would far easier to hide the village from the world than it would be to hide the world from the villagers, because the world isn't interested in villages.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:53 PM on August 23, 2005


Piggyback: what I didn't get was tying colour into their monsters story. Why did they want to ban the colour red?

The guy explained to the class that the monsters were not behind the skinning, and it seemed quite clear that they did not want the kids living in fear of the monsters in the village, only in fear of the woods, and they regretted the extent to which the culture of fear they had created had permeated the kids, and were trying to reduce that.

So why make the kids terrified of any flower or berry that grows in the village and is the wrong colour? Did they want the monsters to unmistakably The Monsters from a distance, so people didn't need to get close to them, and they chose to take a vast chunk of colour out of their world to do it? Was it to make kids afraid of their own blood in some strange attempt to stop violence? Weird.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:04 PM on August 23, 2005


Not so strange...picking red was a good choice. It's all over the place so it serves as a constant reminder. It's not going to be blue or green or brown because of the even high prevalence of them in nature (afraid of grass? afraid of the sky? afraid of wood?) It's something that's not going to happen often in the group, but often enough that when it does happen (an accident, where people are in an excited state already) it's a big thing.

As well, a deep red is hard to create from natural dyes available in a north american forest, so it's unlikely to be used for art or clothing anyway (pink or purple are much easier...though I have no clue how they'd create that brilliant yellow).
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:35 PM on August 23, 2005


Kickstart: I agree that if you're going to ban a colour, red is the one to pick, but it seems bizarre to ban a colour at all - where did that idea even come from? (And as it turned it, yet another constant reminder of living in fear was the last thing they wanted)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:36 AM on August 24, 2005


Looks like no one has commented about the possible parralels between the village elders & the Bush administration, the good and bad colors and the threat system, yada yada...

Not that I support these, or don't find them interesting, but I just thought I'd chime in :)

Discuss ;)
posted by XiBe at 5:24 AM on August 24, 2005


yeah, and when they actually need medicine, why the hell would they send the BLIND girl out into the real world when there's a dozen adults who all presumably spent the first halves of their lives living there and could easily find a drug store?

No one but Ivy (the blind girl) could have gone. That's sort of the point of the movie. She was in love with Lucius, who was sick--it was her great love for him that made her overcome her fear of the unknown to help him to live. The founders of the village never wanted to return to the world that had hurt them--they reacted to that hurt so badly that they would rather let people die than go back to modern life.

It's also convenient that, although Ivy could tell that the world outside the wall was different, she couldn't see it. She waited for that security guard to bring her the medicine--she didn't go any further than the road--so she returned to the village with basically no understanding of how the worlds differed.
posted by CiaoMela at 6:51 AM on August 24, 2005


Kickstart70 writes "My wife (orig. from Alabama) is amazed when we drive through Canada that you can find roads where it's an absolute necessity to bring a jerry can full of gas because one full tank won't get you where you need to go."

I was in Sask. for a wedding last year, and had to drive from Regina to Outlook to get to the ceremony. I commented to my parents that the towns on the map seemed to be uniformly distanced on the map. My dad, who grew up in Sask., told me that there was a relationship to the spacing between towns and the amount of time it would take a farmer to bring his harvest to the local coop grain tower. I think he mentioned something about railways as well, but can't remember.

As a transplanted westerner (born in Sask., but moved eastwards from 1 year onwards) I thought that was a neat bit of trivia.
posted by smcniven at 6:59 AM on August 24, 2005


The founders of the village never wanted to return to the world that had hurt them--they reacted to that hurt so badly that they would rather let people die than go back to modern life.

yeah, i understand the plot device. i'm just saying it's retarded.
posted by subclub at 8:29 AM on August 24, 2005


-harlequin-: "Kickstart: I agree that if you're going to ban a colour, red is the oneto pick, but it seems bizarre to ban a colour at all - where did thatidea even come from? (And as it turned it, yet another constantreminder of living in fear was thelast thing they wanted)"

My understanding that thematically the colour red was selected because it's the colour of blood -- so when someone is stabbed for example, they have the evil colour marking them. Thanks for the illuminating discussion.
posted by feelinglistless at 1:51 AM on August 25, 2005


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