The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★★½

Wide lenses expand the Z-axis of a space, but compress the X and Y. This makes any camera move look dynamic, even if it hasn’t really moved that much at all.

(1) to reduce in size, quantity, or volume as if by squeezing
(2) conversion in order to reduce the space occupied...

This compression makes the corridors of the palace stretch further, but the walls and ceiling envelope the subject in the environment. The framing shifts to the center, where the features of the actor are less distorted than the world around them.

Any progression towards the characters’ goal becomes a lateral one. What appears to be an aggressive dynamic movement really isn’t much of one at all. They are at the mercy of the camera’s all-seeing eye.

At the end, we get our traditional long-lens close-ups, compressing the space onto the characters at the moment they realize the trap they’re in... but this also isolates and cocoons them in focus. It is relief in more ways than one, until the image is overtaken by a different visual condension: optical dissolves and overlays.

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