Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Black Mirror: The Entire History of You

          Black Mirror’s “The Entire History of You”, plays with the idea of what the world would be like with memory retention devices. “The Grain”, the memory retention device, is implanted in people in order to vividly remember the past. The episode focuses on Liam who becomes obsessed with suspicions about his wife having an affair with a past lover. “The Entire History of You”, serves a purpose in order to view how a world that appears to be utopian is actually dystopian, and that has to do with the fact that people have memory retention devices that record daily life which they can later use to replay. Ultimately, this can lead individuals, as demonstrated by Liam, to become obsessed and lose control over their lives. From the music, the camera angles, to the colors, this episode is able to convey a dystopian world.
            This world is dystopian because people have access to past memories through the use of so-called grains, which record daily events that can later be used to replay. As is seen with Liam, he becomes obsessed and begins to replay memories to scrutinize them eventually leading him to despair. A world where people can replay memories in vivid detail can prove problematic because they become obsessed with replaying the memory over and over again. For example, people will replay their first encounter with a date and obsess over it and grow anxious or people might have to replay memories that contain sensitive information to police officials, leading to a world where privacy is no longer existent. In this world sex is shown how it becomes dull and non-passionate because people choose to replay exciting past sexual encounters, rather than enjoying the current sexual encounter. This is dystopian because sex ceases to be an intimate occasion with a partner and instead becomes a passionless, almost robotic, sexual encounter.
            The colors used in scenes are also worthwhile to note because they switch from bright to dull when things go from a perfect world to an imperfect world. When Liam first arrives to the social gathering, the scene is presented in a bright color to demonstrate the joy and liveliness of the group of friends who are having a good time. However, when things go awry and Liam finally confronts his wife about the affair, the scene turns gray and dull, where bright colors are no longer used. This is a good way of showing how their world is no longer a perfect world, but rather a dystopian world because both Liam and Ffion have come to a point in the story where the truth is revealed due to the obsession Liam had in replaying memories. This is true also when Liam replays memories of better times with his wife and child, as the scenes are bright and yellow but then switch back to gray when he is in the present.  The music used throughout the episode is also helpful in conveying a dystopian world because it turns eerie and almost suspenseful to show that this is no longer a perfect world. The very last scenes then play music that is sad in order to demonstrate Liam’s despair and solitude as he no longer remains with his wife. Camera angles in the episode were also useful because they are able to demonstrate Liam as almost lost in this world, as someone who is clearly distressed and in despair for what has happened. The camera angles go from a straightforward position when in good times, but then switch to lopsided and sideways angles when times are bad which helps to display Liam’s distress.
            All in all, “The Entire History of You”, is great at conveying a dystopian world where people can become obsessed with past encounters, eventually leading them to despair. It was the constant replay of memories by Liam that caused him to become distraught, and though he was right in his suspicions about his wife all along, the device made it only more difficult because he continued to replay those encounters. I think if we were able to use such technology it would prove to be troublesome because we would obsess over everything and might even have our privacy taken away. The grain device can surely be a warning of the potential dangers of already existing technology, such as the use of Facebook which can be used to look back at past romances and even be used as a way for the government to invade people’s privacy. With the continuing improvement of technology it might be possible that one day we invent such technology as the grain device, and perhaps become a dystopian world because of it.

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