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Encyclopedia > The Village (movie)
The Village
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Written by M. Night Shyamalan
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard
Joaquin Phoenix
Adrien Brody
Produced by Sam Mercer
M. Night Shyamalan
Distributed by Buena Vista
Release date July 30, 2004
Runtime 108 min.
Language English
Budget $60,000,000
IMDb page

The Village (2004) is a thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan that explores the dynamics of an insular American village colony and the collective fears of its members. The Village movie poster This work is copyrighted. ... M. Night Shyamalan (last name pronounced , born Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan, on August 6, 1970 in Pondicherry, India) is a screen writer and director. ... Bryce Dallas Howard (born March 2, 1981) is an American actress, and the daughter of Hollywood actor/director Ron Howard and writer Cheryl Howard. ... Joaquin Phoenix in the Oscar-nominated role of Commodus Joaquin Rafael Phoenix (pronounced Wack Keem) (born October 28, 1974 in San Juan, Puerto Rico), also known as Leaf Phoenix, is an actor in the USA. He often plays supporting roles as characters plagued with self doubt. ... Adrien Brody (born April 14, 1973) is an American actor. ... Sam Mercer is a producer of many Hollywood films such as Signs, The Sixth Sense and Van Helsing. ... Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. ... July 30 is the 211th day (212th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 154 days remaining. ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Thriller films are movies that primarily use action and suspense to engage the audience. ... M. Night Shyamalan (last name pronounced , born Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan, on August 6, 1970 in Pondicherry, India) is a screen writer and director. ...

Contents


Cast

As is usual in his films, M. Night Shyamalan is seen in a brief cameo. In one of the final scenes his voice is heard for a time and his reflection can be seen. Bryce Dallas Howard (born March 2, 1981) is an American actress, and the daughter of Hollywood actor/director Ron Howard and writer Cheryl Howard. ... Joaquin Phoenix in the Oscar-nominated role of Commodus Joaquin Rafael Phoenix (pronounced Wack Keem) (born October 28, 1974 in San Juan, Puerto Rico), also known as Leaf Phoenix, is an actor in the USA. He often plays supporting roles as characters plagued with self doubt. ... Adrien Brody (born April 14, 1973) is an American actor. ... William Hurt in Lost in Space. ... Sigourney Weaver Susan Alexandra Sigourney Weaver (born October 8, 1949 in New York, New York) is an American actress perhaps best known for her portrayal of Ripley in Alien (1979) and its sequels. ... 2002 Lincoln cent, Obverse, proof with cameo Cameo is a method of carving; or an item of jewelry made in this manner. ...


Plot

The film centers around a small agrarian village surrounded by a forest. According to the governing elders, the villagers have a long-standing truce with "creatures" that live in the woods – neither faction will enter the territory of the other. An armistice is the effective end of a war, when the warring parties agree to stop fighting. ...

With illness and death on the increase amongst the villagers, Lucius Hunt, son of one of the elders, volunteers to head to the towns for medical supplies. This means travelling through the forest and his request is turned down by fearful elders as the creatures of the woods start to leave warnings. Meanwhile Ivy Walker, daughter of another elder, begins to express her feelings towards Lucius. Being mostly blind she can only see vague lights and shapes, but is able to see Lucius as a color. Things go horribly wrong when Noah Percy, a man with mental disabilities, jealously attacks Lucius, stabbing him and leaving him close to death.


Knowing that the love between Ivy and Lucius has grown strong, the elders agree to allow Ivy to pass through the forest and seek out the medical supplies. Before she does, however, her father explains the secret of the creatures – they are fabrications created by the elders in an attempt to block out the rest of the evil world, where all the founders of the colony suffered family deaths and losses.


While travelling through the forest a creature suddenly attacks Ivy. Without sight, and with the stories of the creatures so deeply ingrained in her thoughts, she runs away extremely frightened. Her cunningness allows her to trick the creature into a gaping hole and the fall is fatal. Soon, however, we discover that it was Noah in a costume.


Ivy's directions bring her to a large wall. She climbs up, jumps to the other side and the final plot twist is revealed: the film is set in a much more modern time than was implied. A helpful park ranger, driving along the perimeter of the "Walker Wildlife Preserve", spots Ivy and is shocked to hear that she has come out of the woods. Asking her name he finds that her surname matches the game reserve he works for – Walker. He quickly agrees to help and gets the medicine she has asked for. A Plot twist is a change (twist) in the direction or expected outcome of the plot of a film or novel. ...


Explanation of the storyline

Set in 1976, Edward Walker is a professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania and the son of a billionaire. After the murder of his father he goes to a counseling center where he meets people in similar situations to him. He proposes that they all retreat away from the "cruel society" that has taken away their loved-ones and invests his inheritance in creating a wildlife preserve, called the Walker Wildlife Preserve, far from civilization. The perimeter of the preserve is patrolled by a security team that thinks they are protecting a habitat full of wild animals. However, deep within the preserve is a hidden village right out of the colonial period where Walker and his friends have created a false world around them. He also manages to bribe the government to create a no-fly zone over the area. All they had to do now was figure a way to prevent people from leaving, and they accomplished this by inventing the creatures. Pre-Colonial America For details, see the main Pre-Colonial America article. ... A nature reserve is an area of importance for wildlife, flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. ... A no-fly zone is a territory over which aircraft (or unauthorized aircraft) are not permitted to fly. ...


Commentary

By isolating themselves from the outside world, the residents of the town were attempting to run away from evil, thinking that evil was something that existed "out there" rather than acknowledging that the potential for evil exists in all of us. By using the "creatures" as an excuse not to engage the outside world the town folk are choosing to turn a blind eye to reality and base their life on a lie. (From a psychological standpoint, they are collectively repressing their own capacity for evil and projecting that evil onto the make-believe creatures in the woods - which interestingly enough are often used in fairy tales and stories to symbolize the unconscious). Another view is that the main question being asked here is whether or not repressing our natural fears and instincts by overtly exercising control over them will, in the end, eliminate them. To that end, the world is constructed in the village that provides the opportunity for the elders to exert such control.


Their basic dilemma amounted to whether they should choose to live a simple, uncomplicated life predicated upon a lie - or choose a less idyllic and complex life based in reality. This same dilemma was presented to Neo in The Matrix when Morpheus gave him a choice of which pill to swallow - if he swallowed the blue pill he could continue living a relatively safe life inside the matrix blind to the truth, but by choosing the red pill he would find out the truth (that everything he had known as his life was an illusion) which would involve a much more difficult path. This is a common choice that shows up frequently in religious, metaphysical, and psychological writings as well as books, movies, myth etc. (Mystical interpretations of Christ's message in the Bible reduce it to this same choice – accept the false illusion that the world presents (the Matrix) or look inward ("The Kingdom of Heaven is within you") and follow Christ's example of escaping from the illusion into true knowledge of God (the "narrow" path). Neo is the name of the central fictional character from the movie The Matrix and its sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. ... The Matrix is a film first released in the USA on March 31, 1999, written and directed by the Wachowski brothers (Andy and Larry). ... Fishburne as Morpheus in The Matrix Revolutions Morpheus is the name of a fictional character (played by Laurence Fishburne) in the science fiction films, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions. ...


The people of the Village had chosen the easy but false path. One could argue that most of the townsfolk were not in on the deception, but in that they are a community everyone is complicit from a collective standpoint. The truth was out there waiting to be discovered. If any of them had simply confronted their fears and walked into the woods they would have discovered the truth (Noah did, and Lucius was in the process). On a high level spiritual "truth" involves confronting fears and coming to understand that if we are to see "reality" - i.e. the way Christ or Buddha did we would come to understand that there is nothing to fear, - in fact fear only exists as as our created projection and in that sense is the opposite of Love. Thus Fear, in its various disguises (hatred, mistrust, insecurity, etc.) is what keeps us from knowing God fully. Thus we live in a spiritual prison and fear is our jailer - and fear is what kept the villagers from discovering the truth. They were each guilty of turning a blind eye to the truth and ironically, it is the "blind" person who ultimately, by confronting her fear, discovers the truth and is freed from the illusion.


…But choosing hypocrisy and falsehood requires intellectual and spiritual cunning, - it's devious and takes mental effort to prop up our illusion and and join into society's denial. Noah, being a simpleton didn't have the mental capacity necessary to prop up a psychological delusion. Once he wandered into the woods and found out that there were no monsters he understood the truth - which is why when other people acted scared whenever they heard the monster sounds - he just clapped and laughed and acted goofy. But by being different he represented a threat to the community – the illusion can only be maintained if everyone does their part. And so, in classic Jungian style the collective unconscious in the Village chooses Noah as the "scapegoat" to hang the projections of their own repressed evil. (Sure, Noah was violent but Jung would argue that collectively society creates scapegoats to bear the evil that it is not willing or able to "own"). So while everyone else pretended that the evil was outside of them (in the woods - i.e. repressed in their subconscious) he acted it out for them by stabbing Lucius (the Christ figure). Lucius was innocent in that he didn't just buy into the illusion, he was of good heart and peaceful and was actively seeking the truth. Not having repressed evil in his own heart he also was not afraid. And because he was not afraid he believed that he would not be harmed if he went into the woods. And as the Christ figure he is killed and is brought back from the dead (or near dead).


The filmmaker, MNS, by choosing the ending that he did, seemed to sacrifice the integrity of the message in the movie for one of his trademark garish twists, and thus the metaphor breaks down a bit with Ivy's journey through the woods and back. She was the person chosen by the villagers to become aware of the truth by journeying through the woods (the unconscious), discovering the "truth", and bringing it back to them thus integrating the collective "shadow". After this the townsfolk would walk out of the woods and rejoin society at large. Inexplicably however, MNS chose to have the town elders cover up the whole incident and continue their deception, - without offering the viewer any particular explanation of how Ivy will reconcile to herself the fact that the monsters were a hoax and yet she was attacked by one in the woods.


Ivy's journey itself can be seen as an implementation of Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey" in which the hero(ine) is called to a great adventure, encounters various trials – usually including the defeat of some monster, reaches her destination and obtains some magical elixir (the medicine) which she brings back to share with her people. In his book "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" Joseph Campbell explores the common elements of myths and stories across cultures and throughout time and explains their elements as symbolic representations of mankind's search for enlightenment.


So on a merely literal level the film can be viewed as a period-piece monster flick with a twist. On a slightly more symbolic level it can be seen as a representation of how those in power use guilt and fear to control the masses. On a psychological level, it can be seen as a Jungian metaphor that demonstrates how we (individually and collectively) repress our own evil desires onto our Shadow Self and then project them outward – requiring that we at some point integrate them back into our conscious selves in order to attain psychological (and spiritual) wholeness.


Proposed legal action

On August 10, 2004, Simon & Schuster, the publishers of 1995 children's book Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix, claimed that the film had stolen parts of the storyline. See external link Shyamalan may face legal action over Village. August 10 is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Jean-François Millet Le Semeur (The Sower) Simon & Schuster logo, circa 1961. ... 1995 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... About Margaret Peterson Haddix She is an author of teen and adult books. ...


External links


The Internet Movie Database (IMDb), owned by Amazon. ...

Movies by M. Night Shymalan
Praying with Anger | Wide Awake | The Sixth Sense | Unbreakable | Signs | The Village | Lady in the Water

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Village movie review (620 words)
Through the movie, he is trying to send a message of religious faith, love, trust and hope, out to the world.
In "the Village', he addresses the life of a whole community that live in a fantasy land and make their children believe in a make believe horror but still live in peace and harmony.
Movie has some flaws but as a whole it is a well acted, well directed, well written and well made film.
Movie Review: The Village (943 words)
The movie was brilliantly written, directed, and executed, and he received the honors he so justly deserved as a result.
The villagers and the creatures enjoy an uneasy truce in which the carniverous monsters never cross into the clearing, and the villagers never under any circumstances enter the woods.
But the constant underlying fear in the village is brought to the forefront and makes romantic dalliances far less important when the creatures enter the village late one night and slash warning marks on every door.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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