What Makes Old Movies Look So Good Site Www.Reddit.Com Movies – Importance of Lighting in The Illusionist (2006) and Marie Antoinette (2006)

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Movies – Importance of Lighting in The Illusionist (2006) and Marie Antoinette (2006)

Rembrandt said “everything is light”. If our reference is the visible universe, I think he’s right. In film, even emotion depends on how the film is lit. That’s why I think the DP (Director of Photography) is an important part of a film crew, perhaps as important as the director himself.

Two recent films and an older one illustrate this very powerfully – The Magician (2006), Marie Antoinette (2006) and The Alien (2001).

The dark, soft and dusty green-brown-tan lighting of The Illusionist was perfect for this film. That flickering, out-of-focus rim-light scheme tells you at a glance that this is an “old” movie and that we’re watching something that happened in the “distant past.” The entire movie was shot in the color of yellowed paper. I especially love the gorgeous faded dark green and burnt wheat brown. The pre-electricity flashlight and gaslight lighting fit the story perfectly. Light itself is a character in Edward Norton’s suspense novel, which has a twisty ending similar to The Usual Suspects (1995).

Marie Antoinette, on the other hand, used a light with clear and vibrant colors, rejecting the categorization of “a story that happened in the past”. This movie doesn’t fade in any way. Nothing is dark or muted. The brilliance of red, black, yellow, blue, violet, and especially billowing pink magically transported us viewers back to the Palace of Versailles in the late 18th century. Thanks to such lights, we are no longer out of the scene (as in the magician), but become part of it. Why? Because the lights scream “today and now,” not “long, long ago.” This movie made a time machine out of light.

Black and white lighting has long been the touchstone of most noir productions, even (oddly) when they are shot in full color like most French noir classics.

However, there is one film in my mind that is the “gold standard” of black and white lighting in my mind – the incredible and haunting Coen Brothers’ Alien (2001).

In some scenes the lighting is so sharp, so refined, so stunningly uncompromising that you forget about the story and wish to appreciate the aesthetic value of each frame, just to celebrate the beautiful new language, with only two main colors, Without any gray in between, carving out space and time.

Nonexistent people represent the absolute minimum illumination at the end of the visible universe. But maybe this is also where it all started. Maybe pure black and white, with no gray, acts as a binary gatekeeper for that part of our visible universe within the spectrum. Is that why B&W engenders such a “life or death” sense of urgency and emotional response among all film noir fans?

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