Brave New World
Movies

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1998 April 19

Writer: Aldous Huxley (1932)


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Controller I / Mustapha Mond:  Leonard Nimoy
John Cooper: Tim Guinee

Bernhard Marx: Peter Gallagher
Lenina Crowne: Rya Kihlstedt
Linda Cooper: Sally Kirkland
DHC (Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning): Miguel Ferre
 
In the New world babies are cultivated in incubators and children are taught that there is no better time to live than now, after the wars. altaltThe teacher, Lenina Crowne, informs the children that the culture "has advanced while savages maintain their primitive way of life." The advanced way of life includes a life in and for a society which rejects the concept of family and love in order to maintain "happiness" for everybody, no pain or individualism, with a little support by a drug, Soma, distributed to the workers. Diseases and discomfort are avoided or officially non existent. Permanently screened ads all over the various plain places repeat doctrines like "6.400 repetitions make one truth". Some of the truths are that everybody is special, everybody belongs to everybody, when the individual feels the community reels and everybody has a right to have fun.

altThe society is structured by different levels of tasks people work for. There are the Alphas, The Betas, The Deltas and the Gammas. And everybody thinks this to be in order so that the civilized society can be maintained. The Gamma work on machines, the Deltas serve, the Betas are found in jobs like secretaries, computer specialists a. o., while the Alphas make decisions and care that everybody is happy - all under the lead of Controller I, Mustapha Mond; who enjoys his power.

Bernhard Marx and Lenina Crowne see each other frequently, which is eyed with suspicion from others, who have their partners for a night only before they change again. As these two Alphas (dressed in black) are working on an assignment and fly over the savage parts of land on earth, the helicopter crashes. They survive and figure to be found by their own people because of permanent surveillance by satellites before the savages find them. Lenina needs more drugs now to stand the situation. Soon the first savages approach. They harass the Alphas and when the pilot of the helicopter tries to defend themselves with a gun, a woman hits it out of his hand with her whip. They are helped by a man approaching the group, fighting them and finally chasing them away.

altHe, John Cooper, a Shakespeare reciting savage, takes them along with him, into his home where he lives with his mother. (Mother = a despicable title in the cultivated world.) The mother gets excited about the unexpected visitors and excuses for the living conditions she has to welcome them in, gets a headache and her son brings her a drink. Lenina (taking some more drugs) and Bernhard learn that John is in fact half an Alpha. Because of that they are treated like outsiders in their world. An Alpha of their own society is father to John. They decide to take her and John along into the civilized world, since he is one of them. While they are waiting they are awed by all the books in the house. "Shakespeare?", they wonder. "Because he puts into words what you feel and can't say", John explains. John asks: "Are you two married?" "You'll have to learn a lot about civilization", Lenina explains.

altMeanwhile a worker is questioned by the DHC. He's brought a mouse with him to his work on the production line and stopped working to strike the mouse gently. When questioned by the Alpha he explains that he wanted to know what happens if work stops. The Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning explains to him: "If one worker stops, the line stops, the production stops." The answer does not seem to satisfy the worker. alt

The Alpha is not happy to witness the first meeting between the savage and Controller I, where the Controller welcomes John, even shaking his hand and saying: "You are welcome to stay with us".

In her room John's mother cannot grasp her luck. She is overwhelmed by all the impressions and just loves the view out of her room – right over the city lit with the city lights by night. Lenina wonders whether she might prefer to choose another view - and changes the view into a desert during daytime. Overwhelmed John's mother cannot cope and Lenina offers her drugs, which she takes. Meanwhile the worker who had stopped working is under medical treatment and brainwashed.

altaltThe Controller allows Marx very friendly (= orders) to introduce John to the society. During one of the evening's social gatherings John teaches Lenina how they dance in his world, which she seems to enjoy. When he is examined in order to find his father, he wonders whether Marx knows what a father is. Of course he does: "The Man which contributed sperms to your existence", but he is corrected by John: "There is much more to a father than that." And they discuss relationships as John tries to point out that Marx is in love with Lenina. "Loving another person is obsessive, possessive, wrong. She can have as many as she wants", Marx answers.
 

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John gains more and more attention by the media. They follow him wherever they can trace him because he is exotic and interesting. "What do all these people want from me?" he asks Lenia. "You are mysterious", she answers. When the DHC fears that he might be a threat to society, Controller I states that society will detect John’s remarks as nonsense. Mond thinks that John's influence will decrease by the time. Meanwhile John's mother gets more and more sick, cannot live with the two worlds inside her and needs more and more medication in sick bay. The Alpha, who's the DHC, deletes the file showing who worked in the savage area before the birth of his son - himself and, knowing Marx is after him searching for the father of John, programs the worker to kill Marx.

Leninia speaks with Marx: "Sex is just another activity, for John it is something else." And invites John to speak to her class. Marx shows John the breeding plant and explains that this way danger and pain is avoided. John: "Danger and pain are part of life. What about their souls?" "Souls? ... Come on!" Marx responds in disbelieve. He wonders what John could have to add to society. "You want me to figure out how to make your people happier?", John laughs. Meanwhile a Beta tries to find the file for Marx to help him find John's father. And finds it deleted.
In class John's words are cause for laughter: "In love with each other!" Big laughs. "Feeling passion worth suffering for, worth dying for ..." laughter again ... but one child listens and thinks. As John and Lenina talk after class again she says: "John, I want to understand." John: "What this world does to you ... I wish I could get through to you!" They get closer and she wants to sleep with him. He admits that he liked her from the first moment he saw her... and stops ... and walks away. She takes drugs - and throws all the drugs on the ground.

John sees her again at his mother's bedside – she is dying from too many drugs. With the standard greeting: "Hallohowareyouthankyouverymuch" the doctor comes in while they listen to the inevitable ads: "Sad news are an illusion, only happiness is real" and look at his dying mother. Lenina sees his suffering. "She drives me crazy," John says, "drinking to avoid reality. People treated her like a whore after my birth."
"You must have felt so helpless," Lenina says and he kisses her.

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In the committee Controller I calms down fears of the impact resulting from John's presence: "He's a harmless little calf." The DHC Alpha answers: "So was Christianity at first," and accuses Marx having invented all of it to gain more power. Lenina later shares with Bernhard: "He makes me feel needed – I never felt before." In his attempt to kill Bernhard Marx the brainwashed worker finally cannot do it, and aims at a vase, at glasses and the walls instead at the person and then jumps out of the window, – what he thinks is a window- he hits the screen in front of the wall.

The HDC Alpha visits Mrs. Cooper. First she is overjoyed to see him again – only to see his look at her - rejecting, full

of disgust and hate. She cannot stand it and immediately kills herself by increasing the amount of drugs she gets to an overdose into her veins. When John sits beside his dead mother and mourns, children come along and are taught by a teacher that the death of one does not make an change to society. John becomes desperate, he shouts at them in despair, goes to the drug distribution center and throws around the drugs in a dealtsperate attempt to make people aware of real feelings. And the Alpha is exposed – a Beta has found out about the deleted file.

 


altaltNow Controller I begins to worry: "We cannot afford another disturbance" and talks to the savage in his private rooms which are decorated with art and reveal shelves full of books, sharing that he too has sacrificed his studies of science for serving humanity. 

 

alt"It is not forbidden to educate oneself."

John: "You sacrificed truth."


Later Mond comforts the others: "Our system is so stable, we can even tolerate a savage in our midst." John wants to be alone. altHe's tired of all the people all the time. Now he is chased by press because no one can understand that anybody wants to separate himself from society. The masses of press people chase him towards a cliff.alt
"To be awake is to be alive!" he exclaims.
When he is blinded by an approaching helicopter, he slips and falls down the cliff – and dies.

Mond offers Marx a position as director – he should not deny himself anything and Lenina is called in to defend her teaching "off the book" in class.
At least one boy has listened intensively. And the masses have listened to John's words.
Lenina confesses to Bernhard that she had not taken precaution and that she is expecting his baby – which she wants to give birth to. The only way to have it is to leave the civilized world. Marx promises her to arrange for that. When she has left, he alters the view out of the window- from day to night, to day again, to night again ... When Controller I receives the information that Lenina and Marx have left for the savage country and hears that the Beta thought he was aware of it, Mond laughs...
Marx and Lenina raise their child amongst the savages – happily. alt

The boy who had listened to John puts silencers into his ears before he goes to sleep- that way he cannot hear what the broadcast keeps on repeating: "...we live in a perfect world. There are the Alphas, the Betas ..."


      

    

 
 

 
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