Back to the movies
Over the summer, I have had a chance to catch up on movies: both the new summer releases I wanted to see in theaters, as well as some older favorites I enjoy watching for the 2nd (3rd, 4th, 5th,...) time. Thanks to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO Go, that pleasure is now very much at my fingertips. I've come to realize that my cinematic appetite is quite varied: I can love a witty comedy just as much as a sci-fi action flick, and some indie horror movies are just as good in my book as epic Oscar-winning historical dramas. One thing they all have in common: amazing cinematography and inspiring set design. So this is my second blogpost about the décor inspiration that can be found in wonderfully art-directed features.
Let's start with an absolute classic: Breakfast at Tiffany's. This quirky-romantic movie based on Truman Capote's bestselling novella is a must-see for any cinema buff. A large part of the action takes place in Holly Golightly's (Audrey Hepburn's) apartment, where a bizarre claw-foot half bathtub sofa takes pride of place. It never fails to bring a smile to my face and certainly reinforces the notion that interior design does not always have to be taken so seriously :)
Today's offbeat quirk can be found in the witty – and visually incomparable – stylings of filmmaker Wes Anderson. Here's a still from a lesser known short Hotel Chevalier, starring Natalie Portman. I don't think I've ever seen a more exuberant yellow interior, and it makes me very happy.
Last year's Netflix discovery for me was the French comedy Populaire, set in the 1950's world of competitive speed typing – who knew there was such a thing? The film's retro color palette and pretty fifties fashions pays homage to many mid-century filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder and Vincente Minnelli. A must-see!
From baby pink to glorious red: Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love – set in 1962 Hong Kong - is a ravishing cinematic exploration of unrequited love and quiet passion, so of course shades of red are predominant in this sublime visual feast.
Dante Ferretti is the production designer of Martin Scorcese's The Aviator, the unusual saga of one of Hollywood's most eccentric characters, Howard Hughes. One of my favorite sets from this film is the 1940's restroom with iconic banana leaf wallpaper and kelly green tiles.
Guillermo de Toro created the ultimate haunted house for his fantasy-horror film Crimson Peak. The ornate gothic foyer with its moody colors, ornate carvings and massive collection of gilt-framed oils is a masterpiece of visual storytelling.
The award for understated luxury goes to I am Love, starring Tilda Swinton, which was shot in the renowned 1930's Milanese Villa Necchi Campiglio. It provides a superb, rarefied and unforgettable backdrop for this emotional melodrama.
Last but not least, I had to include a TV show. I pretty much watch every Masterpiece show on PBS, but the one that has really stuck with me is The Durrells in Corfu, the story of an eccentric English family who has relocated to 1930's Corfu. Their ramshackle country house, home to a family of five plus a menagerie of animals is rustic, shabby, on the verge of falling apart... and completely endearing. Watch it!