First person is a grammatical term used to refer to a writing given from the perspective of the author. Words such as me, myself, I, us, and we are indicitive of the first person.

     You might not perceive significant differences between an episode of the series First Person and an Errol Morris movie (Fog of War and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control stack up closely). Utilizing his invention, "the Interrotron," the subject of the interview stares directly into a camera in which Morris' is face projected onto a screen in front of it, vice versa on Morris' end. Through this unique method, you will experience the interviewee relating in eye contact and gesticulation all the mannerisms, tells, and cues that the interviewer sees.

     The superior quality of First Person reveals itself in its brevity. The shorter allotment of time in focusing on one subject allows you to examine the person telling their story rather than getting bombarded with too many different points of view or points in time. This story might be clarified by other details in the person's life, and it may begin anywhere they (or Morris) choose, but usually one story is told. You can even become immersed in the way that the subject bonds, jokes, and occasionally flirts with Morris. If they come in defensive with a resolve to justify themselves, you might notice that little holes in their armor appear, which Morris highlights but usually refuses to comment on.

     And then always amusing is Morris himself. When he leaves his questions or comments in, they usually seem to be voiced by a jocular, smirking guy two rows back and to the side in the theater. It's surprising that someone who sounds like he doesn't take anything seriously would construct and delve with such interesting portrayals of people, and yet it makes sense that he can disarm even a possible murderer with such ease and success. Sometimes Morris' exchanges with the subject lead to almost non-sequitorial comments. Take, for instance, episode 11 of the first season, which ends with a retired CIA spy staring directly at the screen and laughing "Don't make me come back there..." after talking about a billboard he saw which read "Don't make me come down there... signed, God."

     Then again, the show seems heavily edited.


"When the word is in your mouth, you're the master; when it's out of your mouth, you're the slave. You're stuck with what you say."

-Murray Richman, lawyer with a specialty in murder defense


A shot will cut suddenly mid-sentence,

"... he enjoyed our correspondence, but he always stopped short of saying I had any effect on him. And there's a difference..."

-an initially ironic hanger-on of the Unabomber


and then to another, usually remaining on topic, but sometimes just fading to black.


"I am closer to absolute truth than any man has been before me."

-Christopher Langan, bouncer


You can listen to Philip Glass in the meantime.

"I think it's appropriate to call them monsters, even though for years I resisted accepting that term..."

-Clyde Roper, studier of squid


You aren't being told the same story.

"It takes a lot of guts.....it takes some lunatic to kill someone yourself."

-from episode 5, season 1, "The Parrot"


No conclusions are fed to you.                       


" 'Can somebody tell me where I left my keys?' "

-Josh Harris, creator of a live-feed to internet show in his house


You might not feel justice has been served in the end.

 

 

All quotes from First Person.

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