Finding Inspiration from Moving Pictures
The other day I was looking at Brooke Shaden’s blog and she had done a post on 10 Amazing Fictional Characters That Taught Me Life Lessons. I looked through all her characters, and I realised, that while, she looks at characters, I have films that I like purely for the visual eye candy, and how they influence my work because of the look of the film. So today, I thought I would give you my 10 inspirational movies, so for me it is not about characters, but the visual appeal or the ideas/messages in the films.
I spent all day yesterday going through our DVD collection, thinking about what I like and why I like it. I spent a most of my childhood on farms, or properties, and with only two brothers, I spent a lot of time alone. Television was my saviour and books. I also spent a lot of time in my head. I had to use my imagination a lot, so it is wonderful looking at movies and seeing how the imagination of others work. Afterall, that is what art is, isn’t it, it is about you using your imagination to create work for yourself and for others!
So the movies, I have thought of 10 to tell you about and I have found trailers to most of them, just in case you don’t know the movie.
1. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Imagination was certainly behind this idea. I first saw this when I was about 8 years old and it was one of the first movies I ever really saw at a drive in theatre. We didn’t really have movie theatres in the country, so if you wanted to see a movie you went to the drive in. Of course, the drive in is now closed, but I remember going and I remember being mesmerised by this one. The magic, going somewhere away from reality. It was dark in places and colourful in other. I wanted to be Angela Lansbury’s character and I wanted to be able to use magic to change things, there were times when I wanted to escape from where I was.
2. Picnic at Hanging Rock
This Australian movie was made in the 70’s from a book by Joan Lindsay. It was about a group of school girls who go on a picnic to Hanging Rock, a rock formation just north of Melbourne near Woodend. They go there for a picnic in 1900 for St Valentines day. Four girls wander off and only one comes back. A search is set up to find the girls. The movie is done so you almost think it is based on fact rather than fiction.
One of the things that is very distinctive about the film is the music. Once you hear it, it is something you will never forget and really adds atmosphere to the movie. Though, for me, the thing that made this movie attractive, were the costumes. I loved the dresses the girls wear, and where the film was shot. Hanging Rock is beautiful and as my daughter has been learning to drive, we seem to be going near it all the time and I know, I do, that I want to go there and do some similar shots.
3. Girl with a Pearl Earring
Another costume drama, and I am pretty sure you will find that majority of my favourites are. This one, though the costumes were not as grand as others, it was about their life at that time, and of course, because it was about Vermeer and how he worked. I do hope that the researches have accurately shown how a painter in that period painted. I love watching how he sets up his subjects. The sets were also amazing, and really who doesn’t love Scarlett Johansson, with her milky complexion, I love photographing skin like that. So if Scarlett is ever reading this, I would love to photograph you and perhaps the next time you are in Melbourne we could organise it.
Movies like Dark City all go to that question of philosophy and who is really in control, and can you trust your memories. I love watching this film, not really for the story, which is not bad, but really for the visuals. The darkness, the lighting, and how it is all put together. I find it really inspirational to see all the different views of this world that were created for the movie.
5. Brides of Christ
This isn’t really a movie, more a television mini series that was on the early 1990’s. It was six episodes and was about two girls who became nuns, and about the convent they lived and taught at and some of the students. It was interesting to watch the women who became nuns, why, and how they lived. It was great to see nuns as human beings as well. I’m not catholic, but of course, I know Catholics and what they went through growing up.
Again, another movie that was visually stimulating. It was set in the Australia in the 1960’s, and in convents. Convents are often the most amazing buildings. I loved watching the scenes in all the different places where it was filmed. There is also the aspect of these women hiding themselves away from the world, only coming out when it was necessary.
I tried to find a trailer for it, but there isn’t much available.
6. Beautiful Creatures
You can see straight away, I think, why I love this film. I don’t really know the story, I will admit, but I love looking at it. The costumes, the settings, they are all visually appealing to me. I love films that you can just watch and it doesn’t matter about the story.
This is a new one for me, and it is a relatively new film. My daughter loves it, and watches it quite a bit, so I am always seeing parts of it.
7. Muriel’s Wedding
Who doesn’t love Muriel’s Wedding, or Muriel? One of the best Australian Movies ever, well if you ask me. The character of Muriel is one so many of us can identify with. Not all of her, but I think most women would find a little something of Muriel in themselves. Then there are the clothes, well what she wears, I think I would love to have the courage to wear what I liked. I love Muriel.
Look at the image above and you have to know why I love this movie and why it is inspirational to me. The costumes are the number one reason and also the time it is set. There is something so appealing to me about the 15th and 16th century. The lives people lead, well for royalty and the aristocracy. It is so interesting. A beautiful costume drama and I want some of the those costumes for my images. It would be wonderful, though, maybe use a modern take on them.
9. The Matrix
This is one of the those films, though I mean all three, that I don’t necessarily think the story line is very good. There are major problems with consistency and things making sense, but it was a film that I was really attracted to and still am. I do have them on DVD and I do watch them often. I find them visually stimulating and love watching certain parts of them. I mostly like the bits they do that are outside the Matrix and in the “real” world. Abandonment and what happens when humans have destroyed the planet has often been a theme of my work.
I first saw the Matrix when I went to back to study art and for me watching it also takes me back to that time of trying to sort out what I wanted and where I wanted to go.
10. Lord of the Rings
This trilogy is the best eye candy ever. I love the story, I love the costumes, I love the settings, I love the characters. It is probably the film/s I watch more than any other. I love seeing all the details that have gone into it. I find so much inspiration from this film, and it often informs work that I do. A story that doesn’t appear to be set in any real time, yet there are things in it that allude to certain time periods. There is that medieval aspect, which I have spoken about before, that I really love. So many characters that are different, and each with their own way of dressing. I would love to have been allowed to follow the making of this and to have taken my own photos. It would have been such an amazing experience.
There you have my top 10 inspirational films. It was such a hard thing to do. There are probably more, but they are the ones I thought of for this. I think you will understand that some are far more inspirational than others, and some were once, but not so much now. It is a great thing to do, have you done it, worked out what films inspire you and influence what you do?