Watch This: Binge Errol Morris’ “First Person” Series On YouTube
At the dawn of the 2000s, documentary maverick Errol Morris set his sights on the small screen, granted free-reign by the Bravo Network (and later IFC) to direct a series exploring Morris’ many eclectic interests. First Person seats a wide cross-section of guests in the crosshairs of Morris’ “Interrotron,” his patent filming device that uses a teleprompter-like setup to project the interviewer’s face right over the camera’s lens, giving the audience a first-person perspective as Morris conducts his interviews.
The series is an entertaining foray into Morris’ characteristically unusual, frequently morbid fascinations (Morris’ first film project, after all, was an unfinished study of the PSYCHO inspiration, serial killer Ed Gein). In First Person, interview subjects include a crime scene janitor, a cryogenic immortality advocate, a person who was pen-pals with the Unabomber, and an authority on giant squid. In its nonfiction focus on the sensational and culturally taboo, the series could certainly be seen as an influential precursor to today’s proliferation of true crime podcasts and tv series, but as usual, Morris elevates his interviews beyond the blood and guts to grapple with some overarching societal questions.