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Vonnegut's Dystopian "Harrison Bergeron" Gets the Cinematic Treatment

By Dustin Rowles | Trailers | May 15, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Trailers | May 15, 2009 |

A local buddy of mine actually brought this to my attention: Chandler Tuttle has made a short film, 2081, based on the Kurt Vonnegut short story, “Harrison Bergeron,” which you can find in Welcome to the Monkey House. The story is vintage Vonnegut — the year is 2081 in a world where societal equality has been achieved by handicapping the more intelligent, athletic or beautiful members of society down to the level of the lowest common endowment. This process is central to the society, designed so that no one will feel inferior to anyone else. .

In the midst of this, an exceptionally intelligent, exceptionally attractive man, Harrison Bergeron, who has been severely handicapped — he’s had his eyebrows shaved, 300 pounds of weight strapped to his chest, forced to wear a clown nose and shave his eyebrows, among other things — manages to invade a TV station and declare himself the emperor.

It’s a really cool idea (it is Vonnegut), and there was even a 1995 television movie made about it. The Chandler Tuttle short, 2081, premieres later this month at the Seattle Film Festival. It stars James Cosmo, Julie Hagerty and Armie Hammer, and Patricia Clarkson provides the narration. It will also be released in October on DVD and as a digital download. It looks flat fucking amazing. You can get more information about the movie here, and if you live in Seattle and want to see it at the SFF, you can find more information here. Everybody else will have to wait until October, and hopefully we can get our hands on a copy for review.

In the meantime, check out the trailer and tell me it’s not a short film you’re not dying to see.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.