I often have a problem with films when the faces are unfamiliar. This applies to an awful lot of indie films I see. The problem is that I have trouble keeping track of who the characters are and what their contribution to the story is because I don’t recognize the faces. It makes it hard for me to keep everyone organized in my head.
I don’t blame this on the filmmakers or on the stories they are telling. It’s probably some brain glitch on my part that takes me a while to learn to distinguish faces. Slow synapses or some such.
Last night I watched a movie that had a whole lot of female characters. (How unusual for me!) Only the main character was an actress I’d seen and heard of before. And her face only looked identifiable from certain angles, because I hadn’t seen a lot of her. I couldn’t keep her interactions with all the other characters sorted because I had trouble remembering who everyone was. It’s not like watching August: Osage County, where every person on the screen is someone I’d seen dozens of times before.
The particular indie I saw last night was a good movie about a marriage gone stale, and I wanted to get more out of it.
I found a solution. I watched the film twice. The second time through I had better luck keeping track of who was who and what their particular part of the story meant in the overall scheme of things.
Now that I’ve discovered this trick, I will used it again on indie films with cast members I might not know so well (yet) and on foreign films with unfamiliar actors, too.
Do you have a trick for keeping the characters organized in your head when the faces are all unfamiliar to you?
Photo credit: The Kheel Center via Flickr