By Harshita Malik
Netflix in late December released a new episode of Charlie Brooker’s innovative science-fiction series Black Mirror, in the form of an interactive movie called Bandersnatch which has been designed as an alternative reality and a multiple ending show.
Netflix did not decide to amaze the audience beforehand about the scope of the show as an interactive one, it rather had been secretive. The official trailer did not introduce the concept, thus helping people assume it to be a horror-thriller.
Netflix can be acclaimed for the way it packages and puts forward the media texts. There had been other interactive shows and movies before Bandersnatch got released, which came into little notice than the Netflix originals.
Kinoautomat was world’s first interactive movie, conceived by Raduz Cincera in 1967. Its screenplay was written such that the two plot lines converged at each decision point, instead of double the number after each decision point.
Another movie, Identity, came with a twist. As an alternate reality movie, it shows how the filmmaker can generate one reality for the audience while keeping the second reality obscured and still moving in parallel.
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Illusion of Interaction
Audience on the other hand has created a conversation in the public sphere. They believe they have a choice over somebody’s life and decisions, but ultimately it’s the coder who has designed the show in a way where the audience can only watch what he has allowed us to.
The multiple choices provided in the show are restricted to what the director wants us to consume. Netflix chose to decode the public interest of working out mysteries from fictional conundrums like Game of Thrones and broadcast a show that helps people believe that they have control over others’ understanding.
They hallucinate, that we have a choice to decide for the life of the protagonist in a Choose Your Own Adventure program. Also, we have seen how Netflix has been experimenting with its content lately, such as the release of Roma. The interactive coming out had to be a theatrical portion of Netflix’s capacity.
Its impressive to note that there had been an over whelming reception of Bandersnatch as a multiple reality show, compared to its counterparts. There are several other video games and documentaries with interactivity as their distinctive property, but have attained little light than Black Mirror.
Bandersnatch borrows heavily from a concept where multiple choices are meaningless while others lead back to the main path for the sake of the story economy. We can always watch the same thing without really making choices at all, choices such as deciding what Stefan should have for breakfast.
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