Monday, June 20, 2011

Open and Closed Questions

49 Up is an incredible concept. It's the seventh documentary in a series that visits the lives of 14 British folk since they were children. The film crew has interviewed them every seven years since they were seven.

This is the only one I have seen in this beautiful format and I was surprised to see how many subjects (some of whom have dropped out of the project) reflect on how much they dislike taking part. Every seven years it's a reminder of how their lives haven't turned out the way they envisioned. A confrontation most of us can avoid since, as a whole, humans love justifying their present lives and block out our past in the healthy way a censor would take all of the deaths out of children's book.

I would think the subjects would be aware that they were simply the documented examples of a process that happens to us all. Unfortunately, the director/interviewer has shit for brains.

If you listen to the few times that he leaves his question in the edit you can pick up how many closed questions he asks. I think he should take his camera around during the day to record how many shitty conversations he must have.

The difference between a closed and open question. A closed question has an answer built in, causing the person asked to squirm in the confines of making someone else's choice.

Aren't you happy to be reading this? 

That shitty question implies "happy" as the dominant emotion you should be feeling and you should respond in a simplified "yes" or "no" format, knowing I want you to say yes.

What do you think of what I have written?

This open question allows you to say what you think and feel instead of fit what you think and feel into my shitty closed question box.

Closed questions have their place but to use them in a documentary series about people's personal lives crushes their own spirits and casts the whole project in the mind of the documenter. "Don't you want to be married?" is very different than "I'd like to know if you have any strong feelings about marriage. What does it make you think or feel?"

Sigh. Once again I have proved that every film would have been better if those assholes would get out of the way and let me do it all.