Rules of Engagement is a film about belongingness as a human motivating force. Three stories, all set in the everyday, capture experiences of this phenomena; Jack, the outcast, is attending a family gathering, Robin is trying to integrate into a new social group and Nadia is failing to blend in amongst conservative work colleagues.
The film is based on recorded accounts of outsiderdom. Stripped of dialogue, the film is a mix between dramatic re-enactment and chamber play of encounter and emotion.
I am interested in how screen based narratives permeate our everyday and in turn how lived experiences are translated into narrative content. I look at where media saturation becomes evident in human interaction; fiction blurs with reality and how expectations, aspirations and fears are perpetuated through screen-based content. I am specifically concerned with narrative drama both cinematic and televisual.
The idea for Rules of Engagement came out of research into invisible social protocols and how they are played out in everyday situations. I am interested in the idea of ritualised communication wherein communication – the construction of a symbolic reality – represents, maintains, adapts, and shares the beliefs of a society, group or family constellation, particularly in terms of sharing, participation, association, and fellowship. I am interested in how everyday rituals and social protocols create borders by defining who belongs and who doesn’t, and what happens in the encounter outside of this comfort zone and how the expectations of mainstream narrative content can perpetuate these borders.