Film Features

Hint of Film: Creeps with Cameras: ONE HOUR PHOTO and INGRID GOES WEST


When looking at movies that were made in the past, but set in present day of that time, it’s compelling to see how the technology of the era informs what types of stories are told, and what types of characters inhabit the world. Many modern pieces of technology could eliminate entire storylines. But by contrast, whenever new technology is introduced to the world, it makes way for stories that couldn’t have previously existed.

There are two such movies that are rooted in their specific time and place and built around the still photography tech of their era: ONE HOUR PHOTO (dir. Mark Romanek, 2002) and INGRID GOES WEST (dir. Matt Spicer, 2017). Both movies are focused on characters who use their devices to spy on another person, and slowly become obsessed with the people they have direct access to via their photographs.

In this spoiler-free video, I explore the similarities and differences between the two movies, and their respective protagonists. Sy (Robin Williams) is a perfect characterization of his technology-one hour photo development-and Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) is also a perfect representation of Instagram. Ingrid Goes West is only three years old, so many of the themes addressed her are still pertinent to our modern lives. The two movies have only one overlapping crew member (watch the video to find out who) and yet have plenty in common worth exploring.

If you like this video, please be sure to check out more at Hint of Film.

H. Nelson Tracey
Nelson is an LA-based filmmaker and the creator of new video essay channel, Hint of Film. When he grows up, he wants to live in a house where he can slide down the laundry chute.

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