When I sat down to watch the first episode of Homecoming I wanted to see how they had crafted the story. Homecoming tells the story of a facility in the US that helped soldiers to transition back into civilian life, and was nominated for three different Golden Globe awards.
One of the most intriguing things in the series is how they play with the narrative to suggest associations with concepts and emotions. The visuals, the music, the camera following the individuals moving through labyrinthine premises of the Homecoming program evoke different and uncertain plots. It is mysterious.
There’s one scene in which a janitor delivers yellow lamps to the rooms of the soldiers participating in the Homecoming programme. I remember thinking “This place looks like a mental institution.”
Later I realised that this is what they want us to think. The whole question that the characters in the movie needed to unveil is whether participants in the homecoming programme were there voluntarily or not.
But this question was not explicit: it was suggested, narrated through the eye of the camera, the distribution of space, the music, the dialogues. It was evoked.
Every single decision from the team behind Homecoming was directed at making us arrive at the question that the characters in the movie needed to confront: were the soldiers at Homecoming because they choose to be there? Could they leave freely if they chose to? If not, why?
We think of stories as written and oral narratives, but stories are felt and seen in multiple indirect ways. A story that is felt and discovered first and told later has more chances to make an impact than one that is only told.
Make them feel and see what you want to tell them, and they will never forget the message.