On 22 February 2006, a group of researchers from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies on Translation, Languages and Culture of the University of Bologna, along with researchers from the University of Limerick and the California Polytechnic State University, met in Forlì to discuss M. Night Shyamalan’s film, The Village (2004). The meeting, part of a series of workshops entitled “Places Within Places,” involved the screening of the film followed by a discussion in which all participants responded from their own disciplinary standpoints: anthropology, cultural studies, gender studies, history, linguistics, literature, translation studies, and utopian studies. The film is about a withdrawn and self-sustaining intentional community living in the middle of the woods in what seems to be the year 1897. The community has struck a deal with fierce creatures that live in the forest: each will not trespass the other’s boundary in exchange for peace. The group is guided by the Elders: among them Edward Walker stands out as the community’s leader and teacher. Among the younger generation, three characters stand out: Lucius, who is curious about the outside world (the towns); Noah, the village fool who functions as the outsider and scapegoat; and Ivy, Walker’s blind daughter who will be made part of the community’s secrets. Shyamalan’s film has met with various criticisms. However, this “Forlì community” thinks that both in spite of those criticisms as well as because of them, the film provides a rich and interesting “text” to work with. We are also aware that we are reading this text through the lens of our own disciplines, which do not include film studies as such. Nevertheless, we find the film interesting to work with because it deals with many themes, ideas, and concerns of our times: fear, its manipulation, and the question of safety; paranoia, violence, and modes of repression; the problems around the need to enforce and maintain rigid oppositions and boundaries; the relation with the Other; and last, but not least, the possibility of Utopia in our anti-utopian times. This dossier stems from spontaneous, unmediated group discussion of the film and the ideas and concerns it called forth. Thus, it has been difficult to group papers together in uniform categories. The best we can do is to pick out a few strands from that tangle of common topics and concepts that run across more than one contribution. Thus, the theme of the utopian or dystopian nature of The Village community is discussed by Moylan, Ramiro Avilés, and Baccolini, who, together with Leech, also analyze the politics which hold that community together. Such politics, as Leech, Varney, and Whitsitt point out, are mainly based on fear, but also on boundaries and containment, a theme that recurs in Varney, Whitaker, and Torresi. The relation between the political and the economic, on the question of money and the distribution of labour (or absence thereof), is discussed by Whitaker, Sangiorgi, and Baccolini; Moylan discusses the politics of the control over memory, Whitaker the politics of the perception of the Other, Baccolini the question of individual choice, Torresi the problem of the control over information, and Sangiorgi the subtle tactics of linguistic control. And as Varney and Whitsitt point out, the only way to escape such strict control is madness or irrationality, which, however, becomes a threat for the whole community.

Introduction / R. Baccolini; I. Torresi. - ELETTRONICO. - (2006).

Introduction

BACCOLINI, RAFFAELLA;TORRESI, IRA
2006

Abstract

On 22 February 2006, a group of researchers from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies on Translation, Languages and Culture of the University of Bologna, along with researchers from the University of Limerick and the California Polytechnic State University, met in Forlì to discuss M. Night Shyamalan’s film, The Village (2004). The meeting, part of a series of workshops entitled “Places Within Places,” involved the screening of the film followed by a discussion in which all participants responded from their own disciplinary standpoints: anthropology, cultural studies, gender studies, history, linguistics, literature, translation studies, and utopian studies. The film is about a withdrawn and self-sustaining intentional community living in the middle of the woods in what seems to be the year 1897. The community has struck a deal with fierce creatures that live in the forest: each will not trespass the other’s boundary in exchange for peace. The group is guided by the Elders: among them Edward Walker stands out as the community’s leader and teacher. Among the younger generation, three characters stand out: Lucius, who is curious about the outside world (the towns); Noah, the village fool who functions as the outsider and scapegoat; and Ivy, Walker’s blind daughter who will be made part of the community’s secrets. Shyamalan’s film has met with various criticisms. However, this “Forlì community” thinks that both in spite of those criticisms as well as because of them, the film provides a rich and interesting “text” to work with. We are also aware that we are reading this text through the lens of our own disciplines, which do not include film studies as such. Nevertheless, we find the film interesting to work with because it deals with many themes, ideas, and concerns of our times: fear, its manipulation, and the question of safety; paranoia, violence, and modes of repression; the problems around the need to enforce and maintain rigid oppositions and boundaries; the relation with the Other; and last, but not least, the possibility of Utopia in our anti-utopian times. This dossier stems from spontaneous, unmediated group discussion of the film and the ideas and concerns it called forth. Thus, it has been difficult to group papers together in uniform categories. The best we can do is to pick out a few strands from that tangle of common topics and concepts that run across more than one contribution. Thus, the theme of the utopian or dystopian nature of The Village community is discussed by Moylan, Ramiro Avilés, and Baccolini, who, together with Leech, also analyze the politics which hold that community together. Such politics, as Leech, Varney, and Whitsitt point out, are mainly based on fear, but also on boundaries and containment, a theme that recurs in Varney, Whitaker, and Torresi. The relation between the political and the economic, on the question of money and the distribution of labour (or absence thereof), is discussed by Whitaker, Sangiorgi, and Baccolini; Moylan discusses the politics of the control over memory, Whitaker the politics of the perception of the Other, Baccolini the question of individual choice, Torresi the problem of the control over information, and Sangiorgi the subtle tactics of linguistic control. And as Varney and Whitsitt point out, the only way to escape such strict control is madness or irrationality, which, however, becomes a threat for the whole community.
2006
Reflections on M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village
Introduction / R. Baccolini; I. Torresi. - ELETTRONICO. - (2006).
R. Baccolini; I. Torresi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/66224
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