The Architecture & The Face

There are documentaries where the main subject is the institution.

The people are like distant ants, or bits of data.

What you become familiar with is the character of the inanimate architecture itself.

I'm talking about movies like "Baraka" (1992) and "National Gallery" (2014).

And then are are movies about humans (bloody humans).

These are documentaries about faces - where the institution is more of a backdrop, or a context.

But the substance of the movie - the main subject - is purely human.

Movies like "Hookers at the Point" (2002) or "Standard Operating Procedure" (2008).

It's useful having the institution / person binary in your back-pocket.

When you're in the middle of shooting  a scene, or even days before while you're planning, consider if the scene (or the entire movie) will be an institutional picture, or a character study.

Both have their benefits.

The Institutional Film illustrates how humans are a product of their environment, or how we create environments in the image of humans.

The Character Study focuses on the complexity, simplicity, fragility, strength, uniqueness, and sameness of the human species.

Both have their drawbacks.

The Institutional Film could be a distant (or "cold") viewing experience.

The Character Study could easily veer off toward an unfocused structure - unless there's proper direction to guide these characters in an over-arching story.

Once you're aware of this binary, you can concentrate or expand its creative possibilities.

How to Use a Fish Eye Lens

Patience @ Calle Ocho