In 1989, a film was shown for the first time on American screens, which in the future will receive the legendary “Oscar” in the nominations “Best Picture” and “Best Role” (performed by Robin Williams – he played John Keating in the film), as well as for a wonderful musical a number of composer Maurice Jarre and an incredibly deep plot of the screenwriter of the film Tom Shulman, together with the work of director Peter Weir and producers Paul Witt and Tony Thomas, this film will deservedly receive the British Academy of Film and Television Arts – “BAFTA”, in the same 1989 the film will be ranked among the top ten the best films according to the National Council of Film Critics of the United States of America.
It’s about the “Society of Dead Poets”. Between 2008 and 2011, Walter Skould – an American who was previously among the teachers of one of the comprehensive schools in America, taught the subject “technology” – was amazed by this movie and even founded his own society – “Dead Poets Society of America”. He visited the graves of famous poets, looked after them and even put some in order. But at first no one even wanted to consider Tom Shulman’s script, the producers did not give more than $ 250 for this story. So , what this film has caught the hearts of the public ? What is its incredible meaning? In this article we will try to understand these issues.
Seven young people, including: Neil Parry (played by Robert Sean Leonard), Todd Anderson (played by Ethan Hawke), Knox Overstreet (played by Josh Charles), Charlie Dalton (played by Gail Hansen), Richard Cameron (in performed by Dylan Kassman), Steven Mix (played by Allelon Ruggiero), Gerard Pitts (played by James Waterston) – studied at one of the best schools in the United States of America – in Wellton (in the original, in English – Wellton).
The school (or, to be more precise, the academy) was distinguished by strict discipline and sometimes meaningless rules. Postulates: discipline, honor, perfection and tradition – were the basis of this academy, but among the youth who study there, there is a completely different motto – parody, sucks, horror and decline. A former student of this school, John Keating, who was masterfully played by Robin Williams, joins the ranks of the teaching staff of the academy. From that moment, in the class of high school students, in which the aforementioned young men studied, a series of unimaginable events begins. Everything in the film is symbolic: for example, when a flock of birds appears in the frame, and then living, laughing young men who run to classes on their first day of school, we can see the hidden subtext – in birds, a symbol of will, freedom, lightness, ease of the age of these young boys.
In John Keating, the screenwriter embodied the image of his own literature teacher. He never followed the generally accepted methods of teaching, condemned them, and considered his main task to inspire his students so that they do not waste time and follow the desires of their hearts, would capture every moment of their fleeting life.
By the way, the actor who played everyone’s favorite teacher did not follow the script for almost the entire time of filming and improvised. The screenwriter of the main idea of the whole film, which is personified in one phrase – “Carpe Diem” (seize the moment), wanted to convey a simple truth with the help of the story of these seven boys – do not waste time living by the rules – do what your heart, but not forgetting the price of her confession of this truth. The main issue of the film is the suicide of one of the main characters – Neil. The reasons are clear: since Neil was not yet an adult and could not be responsible for his own fate, and his father cruelly did not accept his dreams, he did not find another way out. But he defended his freedom, his price for it cost him his life. The screenwriter himself regretted that he ended the life of his hero in this way.
The problematics of a film work includes an eternal struggle between the rules that the majority writes that actually powerfully manipulate you, and between the desire of your heart for the freedom to control your own destiny. The first image was the public – the leadership of the school, teachers, and the second – young boys, led by their teacher. Everyone has their own choice. And the young men made this choice, each for himself. As is the teacher.
I think after reading this short essay, you are convinced that the film deservedly received its awards and deserves to be one of the films that can influence a person and change his life.