Most of us agree with the “show, don’t tell” theme of this essay, but there’s nothing more infuriating than actors showing without sufficient context. The affecting facial expressions in this essay (such as Chewietel Ejiofor‘s at the end of 12 Years A Slave) work because the audience has been fully schooled on the reasons for the characters’ sorrow. Without these vital details just showing isn’t enough. As I said a couple of days ago, “Directors place a high premium on scenes in which actors say as little as possible or generally under-verbalizing the situation. They love it when actors can look wordlessly stunned or shocked or confused. In real-life situations, of course, people are constantly voicing their perceptions about what may or may not be going on or what they’re feeling or fearing. If the groundwork is insufficient, the ‘show it, don’t say it’ aesthetic is strictly a movie-realm thing, and is phony and irritating as hell.” (The essay was directed by Andrew Saladino and posted by The Royal Ocean Film Society.)