Hello everyone, today I want to talk about movies that inspire me as an artist. I would say that film has been critical to my making things as an artist. Especially since I started off my doing copies of Studio Ghibli backgrounds. Without those films and the excellent stills I found of them in books I am not sure I would have ever started making things on that level of dedication. The films I watch generally do have that very director specific style, like Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola films. But then there are the films that just have really entertaining plot lines or dashing actors and some documentaries about creative processes and people.
Films also play a role in the actual making of my work as I watch a lot of films as I am making. It’s perfect as I only need to look up and watch occasionally or when I need a quick break but most of the time I can just listen. Makes the maker feel a bit less lonely during the long hours of work.
I’ll start off with the animated films that I enjoy watching and have given me some sort of creative idea. I can think of two clear inspirations: the Studio Ghibli films (at least most of them) and Anastasia by both Century Fox.
I’ll begin with the Studio Ghibli films as they have always been something that I’ve watched since VHS was still a thing. I always enjoyed the characters and found them relatable, magical and an oasis. And all of this inspired me to start doing watercolour copies of the paintings, which I discussed in a previous post. For me a big part of why I am inspired by these films is the good plots (not too simple to follow and the ending is what you want but not as predictable as a disney film) and all of the picturesque scenery and all the tiny details in them.
I put Anastasia on this list because of my fascination with the Russian Revolution that I came about in a really backwards Being John Malkovich linked type of way. I know that a lot of the film is inaccurate. But there still was a lot of research done to make this film the screenwriters just took some liberties. Also it is a Hollywood children’s film so they had to adapt it in some ways. Visually I think this film is interesting but it isn’t that different from anything you’ve seen before and I’m just in it for the Romanov and revolution stories.
Next on my list I will dive into Wes Anderson films. The first one I remember seeing was Fantastic Mr. Fox. My memory of it is being in New York City for the first time at Christmastime and seeing the figures from the film on display in the window of Bergdorf Goodmans’ department store (they weren’t in the main special windows they were in the ones across the street). Then when we were there we went to go see the movie one afternoon opposed to going to a museum. That’s another fond memory I have.
I’m not going to go into a long discussion about why I love most Wes Anderson films but I will name the ones that have I have gone on one of my movie marathons with (and when I say marathon I don’t mean watch one movie and then another, etc. I mean watching one finishing it and pressing the replay button about fifteen times). That list comprises of: The Darjeeling Limited, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Royal Tenenbaums.
After those directors I can only think of one other that really captures my attention for over two films. Nevertheless some of my favourite films are by directors who have done only one classic film (or at least classic in my movie library) that makes it into my top list. At this point I would say that some of the films lean more towards the visual side (and that may or may not include the actors 😉 ) or it may be the plot that inspires me more. But the list goes as follows in no particular order:
Bend It Like Beckham, one of my favourite summer films and always reminds me of why I love playing soccer.
High Fidelity, which is great for your inner selfish snob or for making top five lists!
Marie Antoinette, I have mentioned before how I enjoy her story before which is the plot of the film but I also love the costumes that Milena Canonero did for the film. She really outdid herself for this film. I am also a fan of the pace and soundtracks of Sofia Coppola’s films as both have an effective subtlety to them that I can’t quite explain.
Auntie Mame, who doesn’t like Rosalind Russell’s portrayal or this extravagant woman? Also her use of coupe glasses (as well as the ubiquitous ones in the Marie Antoinette film) inspired me to drink my beer from one since I am a classy lady!
The Trotsky, a great modern take on Leon Trotsky’s life and you know my love of all things Russian Revolution so this is perfect to me. But I do still wish that I had had a dance for social justice in high school. But maybe I can still have that party someday.
Some Barbara Streisand films like Hello Dolly, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, and What’s Up, Doc?
Some Woody Allen films like Sleeper and Play It Again, Sam.
Some Charlie Kaufman films like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich.
And a slough of other films that are just fabulous to watch for a good time, like: The Brothers Bloom, It Might Get Loud (a documentary), The Music Man, The Producers, What We Do In The Shadows, and Starbuck (a Québécois film and no I did not forget the s at the end of Starbuck).
That brings us to the end of the films that I find inspiring. I could go on but I’ll stop there for fear of a never-ending list.
What films are your favourite or that you find inspiring?