The television show Twin Peaks (David Lynch & Mark Frost, 1990-1991) is known for its music. Its otherwordly soundtrack transports the audience into a universe where retro nostalgia meets the fantastic. In this video, I look at how musical set-pieces are used to illuminate the character of Leland Palmer, father of murdered teen Laura Palmer.
When Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom was released in 2012, audiences and critics alike noted the film’s similarities to Pierrot le fou, a 1965 film by French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard. However, Godard isn’t the only — or even the most important — influence on Wes Anderson. This video essay looks at a few of the cinematic… Read more »
Robert Altman is known for eliciting nuanced performances from his actors. His 1977 film, 3 Women, is no different. In it, Sissy Spacek plays the inscrutable Pinky Rose, a childlike woman who is infatuated with Shelley Duvall’s character, Millie Lammoreaux. Pinky morphs over the course of the film, eventually adopting Millie’s persona, much to Millie’s confusion.
As audience members, we seem to intuitively know how to interpret films. We accurately categorize films as fiction and documentary without giving it a second thought. But how do we know which films are fiction or nonfiction? What conventions do filmmakers draw from to code their films as representations of fantasy or reality?
Before Disney’s Fantasia (Joe Grant & Dick Huemer, 1940) introduced the idea of visual music to mass audiences, experimental filmmakers had been playing with the idea for decades. As early as 1909, Italian futurists were painting abstract forms onto film stock, attempting to translate the purity of classical compositions into moving image media.
Twin brothers Stephen and Timothy Quay are known for their entrancing, and sometimes unsettling, stop motion worlds. Their films bring us into hidden spaces, filled with discarded objects and compulsive desire. In addition to their unique puppet design and elegantly articulated movement, the Quays also invest great care in their cinematography. They are unafraid to… Read more »