The interactive narrative film explores an unreliable narrative of an intense trauma, with the viewer choosing which memories to follow.
Emily Mortimer has a fuzzy memory in The Hollywood Reporter’s exclusive trailer for the virtual reality film Broken Night.
Making its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, the eight-minute VR title explores a woman’s unreliable narrative of an intense trauma — returning home and encountering an intruder. The viewer gets to choose which memories to follow while recounting the events to a detective.
“There are always many different versions of any story,” Mortimer, who also served as an executive producer, tells THR. “With conventional filmmaking, the writer, the director and the performer all have to plump for one version and make that choice for the audience. But with VR, the audience is the one doing the choosing — they’re much more active in the experience.”
Such narrative interactivity is still a relative rarity in VR. “For many years, people have grown used to — and expect — totally seamless storytelling in the world of CG, particularly in video games, but it has never been achievable in live-action until now,” explains co-director Alon Benari of Eko’s proprietary player. “We imagine that storytellers working in this medium will want, more and more, to bring viewers compelling stories that have true interactive engagement.”
Making her VR debut, Mortimer had to shoot long takes without any crew or directors visible to the 360-degree camera. “It’s like being left alone in a room with a strange robot who is recording your every move, but there’s a certain freedom to it, too — no real blocking or close-ups or wide shots, like in a conventional movie,” she says. “There’s nowhere to hide, and that leaves you feeling somewhat exposed as an actor. There are no tricks to hide behind.”
Broken Night was created by Eko, Hidden Content and Realmotion in association with Irving Harvey. Alessandro Nivola, Josh Green and Michael Nathanson are also among the cast.