Cinematic style and Socionics: a comparison between Beta and Delta

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Following our previous articles about core themes and narratives in Beta and Delta movies,  here we compare the main cinematic features found in their movies. As discussed on the previous piece,since these Quadras value opposite aspects, significant differences arise in terms of visual style and acting. As usual, we will be analysing films’ contents, so beware of spoilers!

The tone of Beta films involves intensified delivery (Fe + Ni). This is achieved by a theatrical, colourful and striking way of acting. An example can be Jack Sparrow (EIE) in the “Pirates of the Caribbean, the curse of the Black Pearl” (2003), who captures the attention with his striking manners. Everything he does is a performance, a way to transmit his personality, even when he is alone. Jack Sparrow’s entrance can be seen on the video below: 

In contrast to Beta, the style of Delta movies involves a Realistic* rendition of characters and situations (Te+Si). This is achieved through a careful choice of sceneries, costumes, sound effects, dialogues and acting style that are as close as possible to the common reality which the movie is portraying. In the below scene from Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” (2017), the style of direction, as well as lights and sounds, describe the situation without cinematic indulgences, helping the audience immerse in the experience of the characters.

Power dynamics (Se) play an important role in Beta films. They are expressed through the use of physical space and body language, such as characters’ stance and position in physical space and in relation to material objects and other characters. In this scene from the 1959’s movie “Warlock”, Blaisdell’s character shows his control over the situation by remaining where he was – at the bar counter when he is called by an opponent. He then moves slowly and positions himself directly in front of his opponent, literally and figuratively facing him. His response comprises self-assured mockery with an implied threat. The dialogue that happens between him and his opponent uses metaphors (Ni) that cleverly follow one another in a logically consistent way (Ti) – the “blinding” glow of the gold handles of his colts being used to describe his obtruding presence in town.  “What if someone painted the handles black for you?” – “That might do. [pause] But who’s to do it?”.

As opposed to Beta films’ interest and showcase of external conflict, Delta movies focus on exploring characters’ internal struggle and experiences. Such introspection is often delivered in a subdued way, refraining from explicitly stating characters’ feeling and intentions. Instead, the scene will slow down to emphasise small physical details (Si) as well as the subtext through the actors’ facial expressions (Fi), assigning meaning to silences. This is visible in the final scene of 2004’s film “Brokeback Mountain”, linked below. In the ending, the audience finds out that, 20 years before, the protagonist Ennis Del Mar (SLI) had stolen Jack Twist’s (IEE) shirt as a token of his presence. Along with a close-up on Ennis’ moved expression, the revelation about the shirt is a hint to love and desires which he had kept secret all those years.

Stepping into the ethical domain, Beta films wallow in a soul-stirring passion. Those are the scenes where the close-ups may come into play to transmit the intensified emotions (Fe + Ni) to the audience. Here is an example of emotional close-up where it intensifies rage – movie clip from the “Gunfight at the OK Corral” (1957) shows Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday mad with a repressed rage, as he makes an effort not to brace Johnny Ringo because Doc gave a word to his lawman friend that there won’t be any fighting (see scene below).

Depending on the film genre, it is not uncommon for Delta stories to include inspiring motivational dialogues or magical/absurd elements adding meaning to the real world. A very clear example of the former is this famous speech from “Dead poets society” (1989), where John Keating (IEE) encourages his students to make the most of their lives and to become the best versions of themselves, as shown on the video below.

The injection of supernatural elements into real-life situations can be noticed in all movies by director Guillermo del Toro, such as the below scene from “Pan’s labyrinth” (2006). In this movie, the protagonists Ofelia (EII) interacts with the magical beings populating her garden labyrinth, while important real-life events are affecting her family and the historical surrounding.

*in this context, this term refers to the connotation describing the literary/artistic movement

If you liked this article, check out our series around Socionics and movies!


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Quadra values on screen – Socionics blog 2019-02-18 22:41:29

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