Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week 5: Story Critique: Blind Devotion | Jubilee Project Short Film


This digital story comes about as close to perfect as any one I have viewed thus far.  It is charming and powerful in its presentation.  I stumbled upon it through the eyes of my thirteen year old daughter who asked me if I was looking for a tear jerker.  While my theme of change/transition/risk-taking has often lent itself to tear jerker narratives, this one is powerful, profound, and yet lovely.  It does not cross the line in to something overly saccharine and inauthentic.  But rather, tells a story of a profound life's transition for the two characters involved.  It is the second narrative I have used this course which tells the same story from two different points of view which I think can be a really great tool to understand perspective.

The overall look of the video really captures the story.  It uses subtle colors--almost black and white.  This really mirrors the story line of a woman who is slowly losing her sight.  The colors are not bright--but muted as if to echo what is actually happening in the story line.

This is a professionally edited story.  The video scenes are spliced together in a way that produces a cohesive, clearly told story.  The narrative is simple and clear.  It tells the story with minimal pathos which keeps it from being overly sentimental.  Yet, at the same time, I can identify with the anger and frustration of this disease process.  The soundtrack is subtle and yet it adds to the story --and even includes a back channel narrative which adds dimensionality to the story that otherwise would not be present.

The story may be about a huge life's transition for both characters.  However the theme is about love, tenderness, caring and nurturing a relationship through a transition.  It is a universal theme easily recognized by anyone who has shared some of life's more difficult moments within a relationship. This is long in terms of many digital stories--but as a viewer, it contains many of the story elements that could be found in a feature film.  It is skillfully rendered in a way that a complete, multi-character story takes on its own life and creates a sense of empathy for both characters.  Very skillful camera, lighting, and dialog work is clearly evident.

This story really spoke to me--not because it tugged on my emotional heartstrings.  It spoke to me because in life's transitional spaces, there is opportunity for relationships to grow closely together. This story illuminates those narratives in an eloquent and powerful way without feeling like the intention is to manipulate the viewer.  I think this is a difficult balance to strike especially with difficult topics.

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