*Warning: I get a little philosophical here*
One of the catchphrases you hear in the industry is “content is king,” which is generally used as another way to say “story is everything.” And I believe that is true, for the most part. Humans have been telling stories through pictures for thousands of years, and with the advent of film, (and now digital film) we have yet another way to tell our stories.
But there is something about all-inclusive statements that bugs me. Does saying that the story is everything* mean that there are no other uses for motion pictures? Most certainly not! Ironically, when it was invented, film was originally conceived as a scientific, rather than an artistic tool. (That makes sense, because people who create new technology are generally scientists, not artists!) However, once the storytellers got a hold of this new technology, they subjugated it, and movies that tell stories have remained a cultural phenomenon ever since.
By this point you are probably asking yourself what is the point of my rambling? Well, what if there were another purpose for the medium of motion pictures beside science, and besides storytelling? What if a film was made, not to tell a story, or for scientific research, but rather to transport the viewer into a whole different world, to introduce new possibilities that one has never envisioned before…to teleport someone into the dreamscape of someone else’s mind?
I recently came across the work of a modern, cutting edge digital filmmaker, Patryk Kizny. I was floored by the first film of his I saw, The Chapel. It’s not what one would typically refer to as a narrative film. Patryk describes The Chapel “as a short film paying tribute to an exceptional protestant temple in Zeliszów, Poland.” However, I think The Chapel does more than transport us to this aged and magnificent architectural wonder. If one had never heard of Kizny’s film, and went to visit this chapel in Poland, they would have an entirely different experience than what one experiences watching this film. What Kizny does with this film, is he very purposefully and skillfully uses space, movement, and perspective to introduce us to his vision of a world that this chapel invokes in his mind. He does something that could never be done through words alone — he gives us a glimpse into the world of possibilities that until he made this film laid dormant in his mind.
To me, that makes film almost a form of telepathy in one sense. We can communicate ideas and visions that could never be communicated with each other through conventional methods. On the other hand, although The Chapel is a non-narrative film, there is no reason why narrative films can’t also incorporate the ability to transport us into the creator’s mind, and many of them do just that. Sometimes, however, it is refreshing to experience a free flow of visual communication without focusing on story, or dialogue, but simply to share vision, emotion, and inspiration through moving pictures.
By the way, check out the very informative BTS video on how The Chapel was made, and also check out Patryk’s other short films on Vimeo; he has several intriguing films.
*Sergei Eisenstein, one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, especially in regards to film editing, would definitely disagree. It was he who said “Down with the story, and the plot!” Although I don’t agree entirely with that statement, I can see where he was coming from when he said that, and where we who are in charge of using this medium need to look beyond the obvious and see it for all of its many possibilities.
A long time has past since I wrote this article, and since that time, a lot has happened! I have helped Patryk with the sequel to The Chapel, called Rebirth, by writing its screenplay! Check out the details of this exciting film and help support the rebuilding of the chapel here: http://bit.ly/support-rebirth