Are there any first-person feature-length POV movies?
March 30, 2014 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Are there any first-person feature-length POV movies? Where you never see the protagonist because the camera sees through their eyes? I'm aware of the music videos that do this. And of course, all the videogames (Like Call of Duty, etc) that do this. But I'm curious if there was ever a feature-length movie that did this for the entire movie. Where you never knew what the "star" looked like unless s/he happened to look in a reflective surface. Thanks!
posted by Sully to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
The Lady in the Lake.
posted by cazoo at 1:19 PM on March 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

Here's the trailer.
posted by cazoo at 1:20 PM on March 30, 2014

Best answer: Films Shot from the First Person Perspective
posted by windbox at 1:30 PM on March 30, 2014

Sokurov's Russian Ark fits the bill.
posted by bcwinters at 1:36 PM on March 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Windbox, it's funny how they have Gravity listed there, but I watched it the other week and I'm not sure it belongs. Nevertheless, it's also funny how FEW films have been filmed from the POV perspective.
posted by Sully at 1:39 PM on March 30, 2014

Enter the Void
posted by Rikocolin at 1:39 PM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

ENTER THE VOID, LADY IN THE LAKE, and RUSSIAN ARK are the only films I'm aware of which are POV for the entire film. That list windbox linked to are POV specifically "all or part of the time" (which explains GRAVITY's inclusion, which does have a strict POV sequence, just as Sandra Bullock is spinning off after the debris strike.) Including Found Footage films seems odd to me - they're specifically not POV by their very definition. If POV means the camera is the eye of the character, then found footage is certainly something else.

The only other film I can think of that bears inclusion here is STRANGE DAYS, which has a handful of interesting POV sequences.

Interesting - both ENTER THE VOID and RUSSIAN ARK revolve around main characters who are ghosts.
posted by incessant at 2:00 PM on March 30, 2014

The Wikipedia list is missing Yes Sir! Madame....
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 2:06 PM on March 30, 2014

"84CMopic" is an amazing film, well worth searching out. It's not actually POV of a character, though, but rather POV of the handheld camera. The title stands for 84 Charlie Motion Picture, the Army code for filmographers (thus the "MoPic") who were sent with infantry ("Charlie") companies to record whatever happened, or didn't happen, to a small group of soldiers in Vietnam.

It is fiction, though, not documentary footage like John Huston's from WWII. There must have been thousands of hours of film shot from Nam, but I've never heard of any of them seeing the light of day. (I'd love to be corrected on this, though)
posted by kestralwing at 2:21 PM on March 30, 2014

MASH also did an entire episode like this.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:03 PM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite], Critical Past, National Archives and all have lots of USArmy Vietnam footage, as do all the news vendors.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:38 PM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's not exactly a movie, but the computer game "The 7th Guest" is like that. If you complete the game, you find out why.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:49 PM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

As well as the others, there is a near-miss: decades ago, Robert Redford was chasing the rights to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance but Robert Pirsig insisted that it be filmed first person POV.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:01 PM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by tomboko at 5:17 PM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ideefixe: thanks for the links! I have whatever the opposite of google-fu is, so when I went to the sites I was unable to pull out the POV film taken by embedded filmmakers vs. the films taken OF things by news cameras. Any hints welcome. (....still sort of on topic?)
posted by kestralwing at 5:28 PM on March 30, 2014

Rosetta is not POV but over-the-shoulder, amounts to the same.
posted by signal at 6:55 PM on March 30, 2014

The recent remake of Maniac, starring Elijah Wood, was all in first-person POV - you only saw Wood's face in mirror shots, etc.
posted by sluggo at 7:33 PM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Found footage" movies like V/H/S, Blair Witch Project (and Cloverfield) tend to employ this technique.
posted by unmake at 7:36 PM on March 30, 2014

An absolute classic, much-loved and highly-influential at the time but lately in sharply declining fame for reasons I can't fathom. This is the movie you're looking for. Don't even think of not watching Sherman's March.

It's hilarious, thoughtful, honest, lush, influential.
posted by Quisp Lover at 8:00 PM on March 30, 2014

The Diving Bell & the Butterfly.

(Movie about life after a brain stroke. Won at Cannes and academy award nominated. )
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:48 PM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pedant-filter - POV and found footage are two specifically different techniques, even if they feel sort of similar. It's like saying flashbacks and dream sequences are the same thing.
posted by incessant at 9:15 PM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

You might find this interesting:

Mohammad: Messenger of God
posted by Alaska Jack at 9:31 PM on March 30, 2014

Not the whole movie but much of the Bogart/Bacall film "Dark Passage" is like this. The conceit is that Bogart's fugitive has surgery to disguise his appearance, and he looks like Bogart after the surgery, so it all has to be from his perspective before that so you can't see his face. Not their best work.
posted by neat graffitist at 6:32 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kestralwing--check your MeMail.
Sherman's March is a terrific doc, but it's not shot in strict 1st person POV.
There's a number of films that use 1st person POV for part of the movie, like Dark Passage, Enter the Void or DOA or even Sunset Blvd, but these use other techniques as well.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:26 AM on March 31, 2014

Doom is a feature length film with a first person sequence for a part of the film, though the entire film is not shot in this manner.
posted by Metro Gnome at 3:40 PM on March 31, 2014

Sherman's March is a terrific doc, but it's not shot in strict 1st person POV.

No, it is.
posted by Quisp Lover at 8:07 PM on April 5, 2014

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