Sunday, 29 November 2015

The Shining (1980)

Figure 1

The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick follows Jack Torrance in his application for a new job as care taker of the isolated and empty Overlook hotel in Colorado during closure season in hopes to coax himself into writing more whilst in solitude. With a warning that a previous care taker developed Cabin Fever from the isolation resulted in him killing his family and finally himself, Jack is given the job. As the film begins to progress the Torrance family begin to feel the isolation of the Overlook and changes begin to occur within all of the family, especially Jack after his encounter with 'Charles Grady' "Torrance finally throws off the shackles of sanity" (Ian Nathan) and also the hotel itself. 

Figure 2

The setting of the film is perfect as it creates a eerily creepy atmosphere with its large rooms and clean patterns and clean rooms, making it appear a little too perfect - which could suggest the hotel itself is possibly covering up its own horrors and poltergeists. "every frame of the film brims with Kubrick's genius for implying psychological purpose in setting: the hotel's tight, sinister labyrinth of corridors; its cold, sterile bathrooms; the lavish, illusionary ballroom. This was horror of the mind transposed to place" (Ian Nathan)

Figure 3

With Kubricks perspective shots which he creates, he achieves the feel of the hotel and also the tension of the scene, the exaggeration of cleanliness within the overlook, the labyrinth of corridors which don't seem physically possible to fit within the hotels interior, the patterns and the claustrophobia of the hallways where tension suggests something may have happened there. With perspective shots Kubrick draws in the viewers to the feeling of insanity and isolation, the shots capture you into thinking/wanting to be within this state of insanity that the characters are in and the feeling of being trapped with them with no escape. "Luckhurst admits, bravely: "I, too, have been tempted to stay in the Overlook for ever and ever." (Roger Luckhurst)

  • Ian Nathan 29/11/15
  • Ian Nathan 29/11/15
  • Roger Luckhurst 29/11/15

  • Fig  1 29/11/15
  • Fig 2 29/11/15
  • Fig  3 29/11/15

Black Narcissus (1947)

Figure 1
Black Narcissus 1947 directed by Michael Powell and Emetic Pressburger is a film about 5 Anglican nuns being sent to the himalayas to open a convent  for education and a hospital in the palace Mopu which was previously used by Kublai Kahn as a place which he used as a harem. Upon arrival they discover the sensuality and their frustrations within the palace, its walls adorned erotic art only adding to their frustrations of the pleasures they had given up and forgotten long ago. As the film progresses their libidos only increase as a male character is introduced and is shown boldly in their actions and attitudes.

"The nuns' well-ordered existence is disturbed by the presence of a handsome British government agent (David Farrar), whose attractiveness gives certain sisters the wrong ideas." (Rovi Hal Erickson)
Figure 2
Powell and Pressburger really did create a believable set of the Himalayas, despite being filmed within a studio in England, the scene looked relatively real and very atmospheric. This type of set was developed by production designers and cinematic skills such as the use of Matte Paintings (shown in figure 2) - an extension of a set which has been painted and edited to fit in with the physical set.

"The studio sets and backdrops are superbly and still convincingly rendered, and the film looks more beautiful than ever." (Peter Bradshaw)
Figure 3
The use of technicolour and colour compositions within the film is used perfectly to convey the story and its development. The colour red is introduced increasingly from the beginning of Sister Ruth's  (Kathleen Byron) changes through to the climax of her sex-starved insanity. Red is introduced in her lighting, new clothing and the luxury of lipstick adding emphasis to her Libido and her sexual frustrations over Mr Dean (David Farrar).

"Later, as passions grow wilder, red comes into play - most startlingly on previously white lips - and as the film builds to its conclusion, the nuns' habits seem stained with the color." (Lee Robert Adams)

  • Bradshaw. P 2005 29/11/15
  • Rovi Hal Erickson 29/11/15
  • Lee Robert Adams 29/11/15
  • Figure 1 29/11/15
  • Figure 2 29/11/15
  • Figure 3 29/11/15

Monday, 23 November 2015

Refined Concept and Matte Painting

Edward Scissor Hands (1990)

Edward Scissor Hands (1990) directed by Tim Burton, is considered to be a modern fairytale, far different from classics such as Cinderella. Burton has conveyed the film to be a dark and gothic modern fairy tale yet the environment in which it is set that is far from gothic.

Figure 1: Edward Scissorhands poster

This creative pale faced character is dropped into a set of a generic American Dream town where everybody is the same and un-unique, where he wholly does not fit in with the environment - from the life style to the clothing greatly contrasting from his own. When you first view the town at the beginning of the film your eyes are instantly drawn towards this out of place looming dark hill which contrasts against the small pastel suburbia, which could be implying the difference of the main protagonists within the film and also the. The contrast in the sets and characters can be seen when Peg first approaches the castle, you immediately see the contrast in personalities from her purple pastel clothing to the dark and gloomy personality of the inventors mansion.
 Figure 2

"Addams Family-style mansion plonked on the edge of a pastel-hued American suburb" Lee 2014

Edward can be argued to have been portrayed in an angelic way with his pale skin contrasting greatly to his raven black hair and also to the entire personality of the films main set and main protagonists. Edward himself as a character is dependent but also to an extent is also dependent on others within the story of the film, showing the lack of connection to those who are living within this pastel coloured suburbia.
Figure 3
"central characters in a Burton film - Pee-wee, the demon Betelgeuse, Batman, the Joker or Edward Scissorhands - exist in personality vacuums; they're self-contained oddities with no connection to the real world." Ebert 1990

The sets within the film, next to Edward is also the star of the show in terms of production design. The set consists of a 'Fifties' looking suburbia with a 'Nineties twist', as a result Welch has created a unique, yet modern 'American Dream' Suburbia, albeit one that is bland during the first half of the film until the personality of Edward is expressed within the neighborhoods unkempt shrubbery and plants. Edward begins creating this vibrant environment, one that its inhabitants where incapable of creating due to their lack of imagination and creativity, his creative skill is then taken onto the characters, which begins to bring individuality to each character living within the suburbia. This could support the opinion that Edward Scissorhands is a film about lost individuality, yet it celebrates it at the same time.
Figure 4
"Production designer Bo Welch has fashioned sets that look like a garish John Waters nightmare of Fifties suburbia with a Nineties twist. It's Edward who eradicates the blandness by sculpting the town's hedges into exotic topiaries of animals and people." Travers 1990


Lee. M (1990) Edward Scissorhands - 11/11/15

Ebert. R (1990) Edward Scissorhands - 11/11/15

Travers. P (1990) Edward Scissorhands - 15/11/15


Figure 1 : 15/11/15

Figure 2 : 15/11/15

Figure 3 : 15/11/15

Figure 4 : 15/11/15

What If? Metropolis Online Greenlight Review: Part 2


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Miscellaneous Orthograph


Colour Palette


For my colour palette I have taken copies of the colours which Saul Bass uses in his work, By taking the colours from his works it meant that the colours would be blocky but not too over powering in terms of brightness.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Life Drawing

La Belle et la Bête (1946)

La Belle et la Bête (1946) directed by Jean Cocteau is a live action black and white film based on the 1756 novel written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, it is a rendition which sticks closely to the original story of La Belle et la Bête giving the whole film its dark and creepy undertone (visible in fig 2) and it is also the first rendition made from the novel.

 Figure 1: La Belle et la Bete poster

The film begins to unravel as a Beauty's father goes in search for a man of wealth to marry one of his daughter, in his travels for such a man her father comes across a palace and a garden graced with roses. In remembering that Beauty wanted a rose from his travels her father takes a single rose, a point in the film in which the Beast emerges from hiding and confronts her father explaining that for such thievery he should kill him. In his pleading the Beast offers him a deal, that one of his daughters are to take his place and that he should not kill her in his place. He flees on a horse provided by the Beast which will bring the daughter back to him within 3 days or else the Beast will take his life.

Upon his return he explains to his daughters his encounter with the Beast over the rose and the deal which was made. Beauty, feeling guilty about her request of the rose takes to the stables and leaves on Magnificent (the Beast's horse) towards the palace in order to fulfill her fathers deal. upon arriving Beauty comes across the Beast and discovers the rules of the deal in which she has taken upon herself. As the film progresses the Beast begins to slowly develop feelings for Beauty, presenting her with gifts. luxury and multiple proposals. Further on into the film Beauty begins to warm up to the Beast, although she only becomes more infatuated with him after he allows her to return home for 7 days.

Figure 2: Beauty within her room in the castle

Once Beauty returns to visit her sick father using a glove of teleportation given by the Beast. She tells those close to her of her encounters and stay with the Beast, Beauty then begins to put off her return and in her absence the Beast begins to slowly die as a result of Beauty not fulfilling her promise. When Beauty discovers the Beast's condition she returns to him, however Avenant and Ludvic, after discovering the Beast's treasure, also set off towards the palace in the aim to claim it for themselves and to also slay the Beast. As Ludvic and Avenant discover the Beast's treasure, Avenant is soon killed by a magical statue, from which point the Beast and Avenant than trade bodies, leaving the Beast living and Avenant dead inside of the previous body of the Beast. Beauty, after becoming accustomed to this transformation tells the Beast of her feelings, from where the Beast tells her they will return to his Kingdom and live out the rest of their lives.

The sets within this film are spectacular, from the overgrown nature to the dark furniture which shows the Hierarchy of the Beast. "With interiors that owe much to the paintings of Doré and Vermeer" Doré (fig 3) and Vermeer influence can be clearly seen in Cocteau's master piece with its dark and creepy forest, the lighting on the set, the décor of the rooms and also in the appearance of the Beasts features. It can also be inferred that Cocteau's set design for the film such as the hands in the wall and moving 'furniture' has influenced other directors "Did Polanski take something from this for his nightmare scenes in Repulsion?". When looking at the overall set designs, it is clearly thought out as to how it all operates from the human organs within the walls, to doors opening and closing without any force from another being - again making the whole film feel more creepy but also it makes it function well together. 

Figure 3: Gustav Doré painting

Cocteau's rendition is clearly one for a more mature audience rather than a younger one with its dark themes and mature story line, it is a great creation in terms of cinema and set design albeit only for a more mature audience. David Parkinson goes on to mention the films "Exquisite costumes", the costumes can be used to show the class of the characters within the film. For example the Beast is portrayed in elegant clothing fit for someone who is of high aristocracy or importance, whereas Beauty at the beginning is shown to be wearing little clothing - showing the wealth she does not have and therefore creating a barrier which separates her from the Beast but also adding to the romance of the story.


Cocteau. J - Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film (1972)

Parkinson. D - (2 quotes)

Bradshaw. P -


Figure 1 -

Figure 2 -

Figure 3 -