I found that I’d grown fond of asking the question, “Are there any films that take place entirely within one room?” It wasn’t entirely clear why. In preparing for this post I found a list of over 100 movies the compiler claims satisfy this query. Of these, I’ve seen barely 10% but none of them precisely tell me the answer is “Yes.”
Most of the movies on the list fall into the jump-scare horror and/or torture-porn buckets. However, the best example of almost one-room stories among those films I have scene would be Rear Window (Paramount Pictures, 1954). Even in this some of the action does take place elsewhere.
Why ask the question?
The central reason is one of motion – as it turns out. Movement is essential to drama. If nothing moves, we have a painting. They can, in a sense, tell a story. They can certain move us – emotionally. But that’s not really the same thing.
Movies can be art in and of themselves. A few spring to mind pointing that out. Segment 5 – Crows – in Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams (Warner Bros., 1990) and Episode 10 of Season 5 – Vincent and the Doctor – in new NuWho (BBC, 2010). Oddly enough both of these examples involve van Gogh.
The quintessential presentation of it, in my opinion, is Cameron at the Art Institute of Chicago.
“This I thought was very relevant to Cameron—the tenderness of a mother and a child which he didn’t have.”
“I used it in this context to see – he’s looking at that little girl – which again is, a mother and a child. The closer he looks at the child, the less he sees, of course, with this style of painting. But the more he looks at it, there’s nothing there. He fears that the more you look at him (Cameron), the less you see. There isn’t anything there. That’s him.”
— John Hughes
Seurat’s work was begun in 1884 but took two years to complete – placing it a century before the release of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
The chart here is part of various “visual outlines” for Astral. This doesn’t only show each of the 62 interstellar colonies of Earth but the factions
As an outline, to me it shows the despair and paranoia of one of the villains. The chart demonstrates some of the incredible obstacles faced by a large portion of the society Astral examines. In making this image more than one scene coalesced for me that I hope will illustrate – in the writing – the suffering of one particular faction stemming from the policies of the powers that be.
Every journey will have obstacles; sometimes it starts with misplaced keys. Any trip might begin in a mix of fear and hope.
Toward the end of May I wrote about woe and joy in travel and quoted Dr. Henri Poincaré with regard to hope having somewhat more weight. He also once said, “The mind uses its faculty for creativity only when experience forces it to do so.”
This is true both of writers and their characters.