Shut Up and Observe

The “documentary portrait” Amar (All Great Achievements Require Time) employs two very potent strategies: one which I will call “the mostly silent filmography” and another which I will refer to as “shut up, sit back, and observe”. We have all seen these types of films before; however, we may never have fully appreciated the power held within these two varying techniques.

The director inadvertently captivates the audiences’ attention, surprisingly, with their lack of audio narration (“mostly silent filmography”). While often over looked, the underlying power of having little voice narration, has the tendency to pull the viewer’s attention into the film. Without a continual voice dictating the story being told, the audience is forced to truly watch the film and comprehend for themselves the underlying story.

Furthermore, the director leave’s his perspective out of the un-documentary (except for the way they chose to shoot the film of course). Without having a voice of advocation, the viewers are once again, forced to “shut up, sit back, and observe”. This has the fascinating effect of putting the audience in a complete observational mode. Nothing is being forced upon them, they are able to discern whatever it is they will based upon their own interpretations.

The overall power and captivation that results from the combination of these two techniques is often overlooked. This is most likely because both of these techniques employ their power by not necessarily providing everything for the audience but rather by withholding things from the audience. Pretty cool isn’t it?

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