Visual Storytelling, exploring Millieu through documentary

The choice for using film documentary as a platform to present my work, was due to the role that visuals plays in portraying subjects. Kalow has labelled this ‘Visual Storytelling’, which effectively describes the objective of documentary films. By using visuals as a medium to present a story, someones story through visual aids ensnares he audiences interest allowing the audience to establish a relationship with the onscreen subject of the story. Documentary has been conventionally understood as a genre which re realities or a reproduction of realities, Nichols argues that “Documentaries are about real people who do not play or perform roles.” Instead, they “play” or present themselves. They draw on prior experience and habits to be themselves’ in a world which we already occupy. Thus implying that documentary does not uncover situations which have never occurs, but more so exposing and shedding light onto these situations to people who have not been aware or previously informed. Therefore the theoretical framework of documentary facilitates my intentions to inform the audience about a completely way of life, leaving the motherland due to public demand for change and the obstacles encountered as a result of naïvety.

My target audience varies between western audience and diaspora Iranians. I believe that Iranian’s will be able to empathise with the ‘story’ as many living abroad left Iran due to the revolution. For the western audience, it reveals a story which could be quite alien to them, having to relocate and adapt to live in a completely different society. Through highlighting the cultural differences within the film, I aim to evoke the feeling of sympathy from the audience and arise the theme of cultural Millieu. Millieu can be understood as Durdshmit has describes the feeling of ‘situatedness’ as how people interpret and their surroundings in relation to their past experiences. The accumulation of knowledge within an environment or geographic location has been believed to shape oneself and the beliefs they hold. Furthermore social millieu focuses the wider context of millieu wich consist of ‘The social environment, social context, socialtural context, or milieu, refers to the immediate physical and social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops”(Barret and Casper, 2001) within different countries and how they contribute to oneself’s perception of the world.

My documentary explores a journey to integrate into a completely society which varies hugely in culture, adapting to the conventions of British culture as a complete outsider. Whilst also highlighting the conflict between attempting to hold on to national identity whilst simultaneously distancing themselves physically from their nation due repercussions of the revolution.


‘The definition of Social Environment’ by Elizabeth Barnett, Michele Casper, March 2001, Vol. 91, No. 3

‘Visual Storytelling The Digital Video Documentary’ Nancy Kalow, 2011



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