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Posted by Richard on August 18, 2008

Harrison Bergeron is easily my favorite Kurt Vonnegut story, and I really liked the 1995 TV adaptation. Now, The Moving Picture Institute ("Promoting Freedom Through Film") is coming out with a theatrical short based on the story entitled 2081: Everyone Will Finally Be Equal. It looks and sounds terrific (the Kronos Quartet performs the original score). Here's the description:

Based on the short story Harrison Bergeron by celebrated author Kurt Vonnegut, 2081 depicts a dystopian future in which, thanks to the 212th Amendment to the Constitution and the unceasing vigilance of the United States Handicapper General, everyone is finally equal… The strong wear weights, the beautiful wear masks and the intelligent wear earpieces that fire off loud noises to keep them from taking unfair advantage of their brains. It is a poetic tale of triumph and tragedy about a broken family, a brutal government, and an act of defiance that changes everything.

Go to the 2081 website, watch the trailer, and sign up for email updates regarding screenings in your area.

Also, check out The Moving Picture Institute website and sign up for their email updates. Here's some background about the organization:

Founded in 2005 by human rights advocate Thor Halvorssen, the Moving Picture Institute is unlike any other foundation dedicated to promoting the ideal of liberty. At MPI, we believe that film, more effectively than any other medium, can bring the idea of freedom to life. In keeping with that belief, we are working to ensure that film becomes a center of genuinely democratic art in the coming years. Our goal is to guarantee that film's unique capacity to give shape to abstract principles—to make them move and breathe—is used to support and promote liberty. Toward that end, we fund films from development through post-production, support up-and-coming filmmakers, and serve as a high-level intern placement service.

Historically, the film industry has been largely unconcerned with developing a distinctive and nuanced portrait of deep-seated American values such as free speech, freedom of association, and the free enterprise system. Such values have been defined and defended almost exclusively in print and through oral argument. But as visual media become increasingly prevalent, we depend more heavily upon movies for our philosophical, moral, and social guidance. If the ideal of freedom is to endure—if it is to maintain its vitality and relevance in our society—it must find its way into film, our most vital, relevant, and far-reaching art form. Freedom must be seen to be believed.

MPI is going on my list of organizations to support. How about you?

(HT: Andrew Roth)

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5 Responses to “2081”

  1. RogueIV said

    I am totally geeked out about this. Harrison Bergeron is brilliant and thought provoking sci-fi, something you rarely see make it to the screen. If the trailer for 2081 is any indication, the quality of this film will do the source material justice. I just hope they can get it onto enough screens.

  2. Hathor said

    From your description of the story, the film makers seem to be skewing the meaning of equality and demeaning those who seek and have sought equality.

  3. rgcombs said

    Thanks, Rogue IV. I too hope 2081 is widely seen. But if you haven’t seen the earlier TV version, I strongly suggest locating and viewing it.

    Hathor, I recommend that you read the Vonnegut story. There’s no skewing or demeaning going on here. You’re simply confused about the difference between equality of ”opportunity” and equality of ”outcome”.

  4. Hathor said

    I thought I made a comment about the title.

    It was not my misreading of the story and I thought I made that clear or were yo trying to read between the lines or not at all.

  5. rgcombs said

    ”I thought I made a comment about the title.”

    I don’t think you did. But people can read your earlier comment and decide for themselves.

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