You can count on all great dystopian novels to focus on the visual. A defunct society needs a defunct setting to match, and whether it’s set in a shiny futuristic world or post-apocalyptic ruins, a dystopian scene always manages to give you a little shiver. Maybe this is why these stories translate so beautifully to the screen, not just because they come laden with social, political, or economic weight, but because they satiate a visual craving to see unrest. A Clockwork Orange, 1984, Atlas Shrugged, and so many others have made cinematic masterpieces, and now, thanks to HBO, we can add Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 to the list. The TV broadcaster has just announced that the film project is currently underway.
To be fair, HBO is not the first to translate the literary work into a cinematic one. In 1966, Fahrenheit 451 was released, featuring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie as the lead roles.
In the fifty years since the production, there has been talk of filming another adaption, but only now is HBO tackling the book with a new aesthetic twist. As a refresher for anyone who hasn’t read the book since freshman year of high school, the novel reveals to us a world without books. It’s a dystopia worse than The Hunger Games or any contemporary literary tyrant: for any book lover, Fahrenheit 451 is the apocalypse.
With books outlawed, it’s up to fireman-like protagonist Guy Montag to eliminate any remaining contraband. But when he meets a woman named Clarisse, he beings to question his role, and his society’s prohibition to knowledge. Hinging on questions of censorship, power, and knowledge, the ‘50s novel was a topical response to the McCarthy Era in the states, and the general ‘red scare’ fever that consumed the country. The title has often found itself on banned books lists, not only for its thematic controversies, but its use of explicit language and super raunchy sex scenes.
Despite its age, the text remains a temporally relevant classic that compels us to question the normalcies we take for granted and the institutions that implement them. If you haven’t read the novel, it’s a great one for book lovers and rebels alike.
There are still no details regarding adaption specifics, cast, or even when the film will debut. Until we know more, read up on this Bradbury classic and give into your dissenter’s mindset.
Featured Image Via Kosmisaic Books