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Keep Toronto Reading: Fahrenheit 451

[no poster image specified]

1966 (Francois Truffaut) G, 113 minutes

Osckar Werner; Julie Christie

Introduction by Science fiction expert and U of T prof Michael Johnstone

In author Ray Bradbury's glimpse into the future, books are considered the opium of the people. Their possession is a crime and the state has a squad of firemen to destroy the illicit literature with flame throwers. Fahrenheit 451, it is explained, is the temperature at which books are reduced to ashes.

The yarn develops just a handful of characters, emphasising the inevitable conflict between state and literate-minded citizens. One of the principals is Montag (Oskar Werner) an obedient and lawful fireman, who does his book destroying job with efficiency and apparent enthusiasm, while his equally law-abiding wife (Julie Christie) spends her days glued to the mural TV screen.

A young probationary school teacher (also played by Christie) whom Montag meets on the monorail while on the way to the fire station, plants the first seeds of doubt in his mind, and from then on he regularly steals the odd book which he reads secretly.

With a serious and even terrifying theme, this excursion into science fiction has been thoughtfully directed by Francois Truffaut and there is adequate evidence of light touches to bring welcome and needed relief to a sombre and scarifying subject. - Variety

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