The beauty of films is not only in the plot or the characters but also in its visual storytelling i.e. the cinematography, shadows, colors, etc. For many of us occasional movie buffs, the cinematography and colors are there to add to the overall progression of the film, but for film-devotees, the visuals can be reason enough for them to truly fall in love with a film.
Here are five films that are an absolute pleasure to watch and an absolute delight for anyone with a knack for aesthetics.
In the Mood for Love
In the Mood for Love is visual magic. There is a quote by Picasso, “Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions” and this couldn’t be more accurate to describe the feel of the entire film. In the Mood for Love is a film released in 2000 and is directed by Wong Kar-wai. It tells the story of a man played by Tony Leung and a woman, played by Maggie Cheung, whose spouses have an affair together and who slowly develop feelings for each other. From the eye-popping visuals of 1960 Hong Kong to the beautiful patterns of Maggie Cheung’s elegant office dresses, you can’t help but fall in love with how beautifully the film is shot. This, when complemented by jazz and classical music pieces, becomes visual poetry and you can’t keep your eyes off of it for even one second.
Isle of Dogs
Anyone who cares for the aesthetic in films knows of Wes Anderson. Wes Anderson’s films are as colorful, symmetrical and quirky as they can get. So much so that Anderson’s films have become a film genre in itself. From his earliest works to his most recent one, you can watch any of his films and you wouldn’t miss out on their aesthetic charm. However, this list features Isle of Dogs because number one, it’s stop motion animation and second, it’s a film about dogs. Set in a dystopian Japan, the story follows a young boy searching for his dog after the species is banished to an island following the outbreak of canine flu. With your typical Anderson cast (Murray, Norton, McDormand) and a few others, the film is heart-warming and an absolute aesthetic pleaser.
Call Me By Your Name
The last film of Luca Guadinano’s “Desire Trilogy”, Call Me By Your Name is as powerful visually as it is with its story. While the other films on the list have a more people-centric visual (a room, a restaurant or a spacecraft), the charm of Call Me By Your Name’s cinematography lies in its natural aesthetic. From the placid blue Italian sky to the zoom-ins on the curves and creases on the human body, the film is truly enchanting. Moreover, the film celebrates the colors in nature and the scenes with the tranquil ocean as well as shots of dark green hills will make you want to pack your suitcase and move to rural Italy.
2001: A Space Odyssey
The only sci-fi movie on the list, 2001: A Space Odyssey is truly an experience. The film has finally been given its due credit (as it was left unrecognized when it first released in 1968) and is a cinematic marvel – especially in terms of cinematography – as it’s visuals still feel surreal and unique even in 2019. The film, which follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer HAL after the discovery of a featureless alien Monolith affecting human evolution, deals with themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. The film is noted for its scientifically accurate depiction of spaceflight, pioneering special effects and its ambiguous imagery. However, 2001: A Space Odyssey is not for people looking for a few hours to relax and forget everything, it’s a story that requires patience and attention.
Hero is a 2002 Chinese wuxia film (a genre of film that deals with martial heroes) directed by Zhang Yimou. Starring Jet Li as the nameless protagonist, the film is based on the story of Jing Ke’s assassination attempt on the King of Qin in 227 BC. American critic Roger Ebert called it “beautiful and beguiling, a martial arts extravaganza defining the styles and lives of its fighters within Chinese tradition.” The film is known for just how beautiful it is – especially due to the meticulous use of different colors to give out logical clues, change in narration and story, a shift in emotion, etc. Five colors are mainly used as the chief narrative elements – black, white, red, green and blue – and to top it all off, these colors have meaning in Chinese culture and are an essential part of the overall storytelling.