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June 19, 2006

Network - 7

In my own list of 100 best films this would probably be in the top ten. In 1976 when this film came out, it was a satire of network TV- ABC, NBC, and CBS. Watching it at any point in the last ten years though makes the film seem like a documentary about corruption that already exists in TV corporations. The film is well written and was awarded with more than its share of Oscars (of note: Beatrice Straight won for best supporting actress, she is only in the film a total of one scene that lasts, at max, 5 minutes). Paddy Chayefsky won for best screenplay, much deservedly. The film has some great dialogue about how the medium of television has taken over real life. The thesis of the film is that a new generation raised on sensationalism television will no longer be able to make the distinction between life and illusion, truth and fiction. I don't think we are that far gone, but were closer than we were. I would put this on the must see list. This section of dialogue between Max and Diana says it all:

Max Schumacher: You need me. You need me badly. Because I'm your last contact with human reality. I love you. And that painful, decaying love is the only thing between you and the shrieking nothingness you live the rest of the day.
Diana Christensen: [hesitatingly] Then, don't leave me.
Max Schumacher: It's too late, Diana. There's nothing left in you that I can live with. You're one of Howard's humanoids. If I stay with you, I'll be destroyed. Like Howard Beale was destroyed. Like Laureen Hobbs was destroyed. Like everything you and the institution of television touch is destroyed. You're television incarnate, Diana: Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You're madness, Diana. Virulent madness. And everything you touch dies with you. But not me. Not as long as I can feel pleasure, and pain... and love.
[Kisses her]
Max Schumacher: And it's a happy ending: Wayward husband comes to his senses, returns to his wife, with whom he has established a long and sustaining love. Heartless young woman left alone in her arctic desolation. Music up with a swell; final commercial. And here are a few scenes from next week's show.

1 comment:

Jason said...

"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"