Benjamin Hoguet of Racontr gave an excellent presentation on the first day of Tribeca Hacks. For those who don’t know, Tribeca Hacks is a series of workshops staged by the Tribeca Film Institute with the mission to “broaden participation in the field of interactive storytelling.”
The slide above illustrates the 6 modes of interactive narratives. Traditional feature films can mimic these topologies but, in the end, find themselves progressing linearly though time. This constraint can be an asset, perhaps no more deftly exploited than by Andrei Tarkovksy - who wrote an entire book about sculpting time in the medium of filmmaking.
Tarkovsky’s handling of time, combined with rich iconography and weighty themes, produced films that felt more like spiritual experiences than digestible stories. Take The Mirror: this film undoubtedly conforms to a Constellation structure. It contains the disparate details of one man’s universe, details that start well before his date of birth and continue to affect him to the present day.
The most powerful experiences stretch us beyond our own known world, imbuing us with new perspectives. Furthermore, by having some agency in how the experience forms, the passive mode of movie-watching can turn into something tangibly active. The stories themselves can’t be linear any longer, as illustrated above, so every intention in the experience must be that much more rewarding.