Black Mirror Bandersnatch – Dawn of a New Film Experience

Black Mirror is a Netflix Original Anthology series that speaks about the dark side of Technology. Our Display screen, when off is just a ‘Black Mirror’ is what the tittle means and its posters depicts a Crack in a Black screen. Most of the films in the series happens somewhere in the future. The films speaks about highly unimaginable effects of technology . The future looks more like our present day. The stories have a very deep impact.  I started the Series with the episode called Nosedive, it  speaks about effects of star rating in reviewing people and how this trend will be in future. In another episode called White Christmas, the writer speaks about how  blocking a person can  be in future. The films get into our brains so much so that it makes you think twice before using technology.  More than fearing about Technology it makes us to question How wisely we are using it . The series is written by Charlie Brooker. The writer speaks about futuristic technologies in a really practical and relatable way to todays world, In not even a single episode you feel it to be an imagination. Its no wonder that the same writer has come up with a new style of  film experience altogether. Have you ever heard of Interactive Cinema ? They are films  which allow the viewers to control the story flow. These films have an interaction with its audience, and the viewers choose the major decisions of the characters in the movie. This type of Film format was derived from the Children’s Game Series Book called ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’  where each story is written from second person point of view, with the reader making choices that determine the main character’s actions and the plot’s outcome. For example by end of page one it gives two choices, if the reader opts choice one it asks to go to a certain page, if second one is opted it directs the reader to a different page altogether. Kinoautomat premiered in 1967  is said to be the  world’s first Interactive movie conceived by Raduz Cincera. At nine points during the film the action pauses and a moderator comes  on stage to ask the audience to choose between two scenes,  following the vote of the audience, the scene continues.

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This style of Interactive film format usually persists in video Games, where a story gets built up along with the game and the player chooses the predominant part of the story flow but implementing it in Cinema has some disadvantages. Firstly you need a one to one medium for such films. Secondly Interactive Films requires specific Software or a platform to support the navigation of the film according to the User’s selection, this is not compatible with normal Movie Players.  This can be brought out to an extent with CD and DVD players but  providing menus for selection was not so convenient.  With the advent of Online Streaming platforms, Interactive Films are pretty much feasible. Charlie Brooker, writer of Black Mirror is now experimenting  with technology in real time by the film, Black mirror Bandersnatch. The film runs around the central character Stefen Butlor, A young programmer  who tries to implement the Fantasy Novel ” Choose Your Own Adventure” into his Video game in  the year 1984. In Bandersnatch Viewers make decisions for the main character.  Very sharp  detailing is given to the options we choose, for instance the Kellog cereal which I choose for his breakfast , comes up as an advertisement inside the TV that is present  in one of the forthcoming  scenes. Its said that the term ‘Bandersnatch’ originates from the fictional character from the poems of Louis Carroll. The film is said to have a layer of actions from his novel Alice in Wonder Land.

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Looking at the Non Linear screenplay and the mapping of the sequences present,  the first option gets you to two branches of the film and  it multiplies to four sub branches on the second and so on in the subsequent choices. Its revealed that there are about 150 minutes of unique footage divided into 250 segments while the total length of the film is itself is only 90 minutes. The options we choose and the movie flow works based on the Cache Memory. Once a choice is opted one cannot go back to the previous option or fast forward the film without making the choice. At times if the choice opted doesn’t moves the story forward after a small sequence we are redirected backwards where we have no other choice but to opt the other one in order to progress with the story.  You cant see the Movie’s timeline so you don’t really know how long you actually watched or the time left for the movie to end.   There are 5 five different endings for the movie depending upon the choices we make, The shortest ending is 40 minutes and the Longest is 90 minutes. I have seen only one ending, I saw it for almost 90 minutes. In my Pre-Climax  after opting the option Netflix,  Setfen’s Computer was displayed with the following text ” A person from 20th century is making decisions for you through an Online streaming site called Netflix” I felt thats the touch of the writer Charlie Brooker. Looking into the complexity of an interactive  script  its definitely a big deal to pen such a work. Bandersnatch is definitely worth watching for its interactive experience. It has opened doors for a whole new  film format.

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I am a Passionate Traveller, Photographer and Film Maker. I feel Literature and Arts are the essence of life and I go by the verse "I Read, I Travel, I Become". Join my site for my Tales and Travels.