A picture says more than a thousand words. The literal content of language conveys less than a quarter of human communication. If you want to be understood, exercise influence, or see what is really happening, you must also pay attention to nonverbal communication. This is about body language, facial expression, context, and the way something is said. Movies offer this complete communication. Furthermore, you can study behaviour more easily since you can replay the scene as many times as necessary. In all our trainings, we make use of MovieLearning, in which we show many, carefully selected film fragments.
Suspension of disbelief
Many films are based on true stories, but many more films are based on fiction. To make a fictional movie believable, the audience must be able to identify with or relate to a character. Most films therefore tell stories in which (through mirror neurons in our brain) we can easily empathise with characters and feel like we are coming along on their adventures.
The characters in a movie thus have many human emotions, including in animations, fantasy, or science fiction films. While watching the movie, you can believe that what you’re seeing is ‘true’, even when the movie is about a robot, dragons and wizards, or people in a space ship, flying through the stars. This is called Suspension of Disbelief. Only then is it enjoyable to watch a film. Because if you watch The Lion King, The Shawshank Redemption, or Forrest Gump, and begin to doubt whether something like that is possible, then the impact of the movie is much smaller and you block the lessons you might have been able to learn from the movie.
This Suspension of Disbelief often reaches people much more easily if they are in a dark room. In this kind of environment, you are less aware of the viewers around you, making it easier for you to empathise and give space to the things that you might notice about a scene, your experience of it, and what you want to learn from it. The effect of the movie is greater. While showing film fragments in our trainings, we strive to always darken the room completely. This promotes learning efficiency and the effect of the training.
Easy to Discuss
Participants in our trainings often tell us that it is easier for them to put the themes they want to discuss into words if they watch film fragments befitting these themes first. The conversation flows better. Film fragments appear to be especially suited to this kind of discussion. They visualise the themes and problems in a metaphorical way, including ways in which these can be handled. Participants discuss what they see and how they experience this, and practice new behaviour. Along the way, they connect the examples to their own lives, teams, or organisations in a deeper and deeper way.