Poetry in Motion: Six Films with Great Cinematography and Lighting

By Myles Muehlberger

If you’re like me you love….  Wait you’re not like me, no one is like me and no one is like you or anyone else in the world.  However if you are a human being then I’m sure you’ve seen a film in your lifetime or at least a photograph.  And I’m sure you’ve seen one that can be described as eye-candy with lights and colors that make you want to put it on your tongue and taste it and make love to it and take acid with it and stare at it forever, or maybe that’s just me but I’m sure you’ve seen something akin to it.  Well that’s what this post is all about; The colorful candy-coated films that I think you should all watch, with cinematography and lighting handed down from the Gods that add to the story and beauty of all things visual.  These films aren’t just shallow pretty pictures and this won’t be just another Buzzfeed listicle, because you deserve to know a little more about these films and you motherfuckers could use some good reading I’m sure.

Enter the Void

So first off yes, I do partake in drugs. Are you happy? But if you’re asking that question then you’ve probably already heard of or seen this film which is good.  This movie is essentially the epitome of color and lighting  used to tell a story within a film.  How could it not be? It’s main character takes enough drugs for a whole Summer music festival.  The colors in this film are intensely vivid and neon, from the epileptic opening credits to the close.  This film is a colorful, mind-bending trip through Japan, Human-Life and beyond.  Plot-wise it may not agree with you, I however enjoyed it, but it’s aesthetic payoff far outways any problems one may have when watching this film.  Directed by: Gaspar Noé.  Cinematographer: Benoît Debie.

Suspiria

This is classic horror and gore exactly how it should be done; Vibrant and well-lit in just the right spaces, with darkness shrouding everything else.  Though from a time when horror was finding itself and its place in cinema this Italian piece stood out in terms of its story, directing and most importantly its image.  Red dominates the screen with everything from the blood to the walls and glass, blues, greens and yellows all overwhelm the screen creating an eerie glow on this small German ballet school, that may not be what it seems…  I’m trying not give anything away to this film because it’s always better that way and because seriously this is fucking art, not just art but fucking art, it uses the same imbibition color techniques that gave the Wizard of Oz its color effects.  This movie might make you jump alone from the surprises and scares but the colors of this film will move you and create an unforgettable experience, with each scene painted in a new prism of color and fear. Look for it in HD and restored if you can, it deserves that kind of respect. Directed by: Dario Argento. Cinematographer: Luciano Tovoli.

 Oldboy(2003)

Though this is a departure from the more colorful first two picks don’t get twisted, this film is beautifully shot with lighting and contrast that adds to mystery and darkness of this Korean thriller.  This movie is almost Shakespearean and it’s imagery deservedly so is dark and moody, with a grainy feel to it.  The lights in this film feel dim almost just like how you feel watching the film unsure of what to keep in the light and what not, a true moral dilemma.  I think this may be the film with the best narrative in this grouping.  Directed by:  Park Chan-wook Cinematographer:  Chung Chung-hoon

Kill Bill Vol. 1

I’m sure many of you have seen this film… Whatever fuckboys I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s great and you were blown away the first time you ever saw it.  Well be thankful for the eye of Quentin Tarantino and the beautiful lighting techniques displayed throughout the film.  This film is eye candy in so many ways, though the general purpose of color in this film is less about storytelling and more for aesthetics and homages to cult films, there is still something to admire about all this.  The lights in this film are crisp like the blade of a sword and it mesmerizes you till the climatic ending of this first installment.  Directed by:  Quentin Tarantino. Cinematographer: Robert Richardson

Drive

If you like fast cars, action and gore or Ryan Gosling, you may not like this movie…. However if you’re a fan of beautiful cinematography, this is for you.  There’s nothing more important and motivating to the story of this film than it’s visual elements.  Most of the film is actually silent and full of tension, and what better way to show this than through the beautiful colors of a West coast city and its surrounding deserts through a smooth lens that imitates 80’s driving films.  If you can watch this and tell me its not at the very least one of the best looking films you’ve watched then you might also be some rude disagreeable asshole.  Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn Cinematographer: Newton Thomas Sigel

Spring Breakers

You may find yourself asking “Is this the movie with James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and Gucci Mane Laflare?” Why yes, yes it is.  If that alone doesn’t compel you to watch this then you may want to stop reading here because I don’t like people with your attitude towards life.  But anyway, this movie is so stark with color and candy, you almost forget how violent and twisted it really is.  Everything about it is pretty on the outside whether its the actresses or the lighting but on the inside its highlighting our violent culture and the way that view it as celebrated and beautiful.  Kind of a lot for people on their first viewing but I promise you years from now this will be looked back at as one of the most influential and game-changing films of the 2010’s.  It also has the same cinematographer as Enter the Void so I’m sure you can imagine just from the stills how intense it will be as you’re viewing it. Simply this is a masterpiece catharsis for the Disney Channel generation. Directed by: Harmony Korine Cinematographer: Benoît Debie

Honorable Mentions:

  • Taxi Driver
  • Scarface
  • Kings of New York

Well I hope you all enjoyed this, I probably won’t write about movies too much, I’m just someone who really loves light and how it can be so attractive to our eyes. It’s a gorgeous thing. If you made it this far down thank you for reading it truly means a lot. Check out some of the other great writers here, and leave any comments or discuss! I wanna hear (:

Change

When will it ever stop.
The constant fighting and aggression
All for what?
So we can go to sleep with sadness and a sense of guilt.
To wake up the next morning filled with regret, to then ask for forgiveness
But only for the cycle to repeat itself
Everyone always wants things to change
But no one is willing to change themselves.
Before looking outside for the answer, look within
For one day
We will all
Change.

By: Zack Fair

Today I Remembered….

Today I Remembered…

To think that I had been lying to myself for so long that i almost forgot what it felt like, what it felt like to feel. Not the type of physical feeling, like when you touched the stove and your hand receives signals from the brain to react and move away from the source of pain. Actually, maybe something exactly like it…

I almost forgot what it felt like. I have spent so much time being strong for everyone else. I put a piece of me away somewhere where nobody could find it. I closed doors and turned them away.

I almost forgot what it felt like to feel. I have been numb. Living in a constant state of emptiness. In feeling unfulfilled created a fog that I got lost in. It didn’t start with with you, it was a process like all things. Nobody is born this way. You are made. I learned to feel less, until i almost forgot what it felt like to feel.

I, through a series of emotional events, Loneliness, mistakes, growing pains, heartbreaks, self-loathing, self-harm, words thrown at me by someone, words i threw at myself, and so much time almost forgot what it felt like to feel

Today I remembered what it feel like to be human again. To know i didn’t forget what it means to feel something, anything at all, even pain. To know that even at the end of the day all my trials had not taken my humanity away. I been numb for so long that I almost forgot what it felt like to feel.

Today I Remembered…

By: Ayomide Sekiteri

That Kind of Love

Can we have a Cosmic Earth Shattering Big Bang Kind of Love? Something even the stars would be jealous of… That love that feels like the universe itself will cave in on existence. That love that feels so infinitely big that you forget how small you are. That love that warps your definition of space and time, and you’re left standing frozen in a moment. A love that will send you far beyond anything you thought was reachable. That love where you are the first person to set footprints in their heart, and just like on the moon it never fades away.

By: Ayomide Sekiteri

The Weight of the Wind

Their ties were left
Their hearts were swept
Their souls were crushed
Their thoughts were rushed

And then they left
and silently wept
but they never knew
That their love was true.

They only knew insecurities
Couldn’t see past the dread of being seen
For who they truly were
Neither even knew.

A blindness caused by fear
A paralysis of emotion
The end all too clear

Apprehension flooded forth like an ocean
They turned back upon the final step
They lost their love to the wind
Now, through the breeze it blows.

By: Vinuthna Kante

Cold and Detached

The killers

back in it

I’m authentic

Living well

Just fine dining and soft women

I love em down

but I never

put my heart in it

So I creep through they life

Like a thief in the night

Should I cuff

yea I might

Just a poet

Never fight

Take your girl

yea I might

She ain’t even

try to fight

Put it down

Something slight

Then I’m gone

with the night

By Dorian Gray

Goodbye Love….

Just cause you living now

Ain’t promised tommorow

We complain about the trivial

Missing the moment

Never thinking that

this all could be

gone in a moment

So we dream fantasies

Of hooping

not being the owner

It’s no wonder why

We content to

being they soldiers

Never sleep

I’m fearing to meet the devil

Bible at my bed

But got money on my head

Mental state

Temporarily disarrayed

I miss the days

When my mom

would lay me in the bed

The world

seemed smaller then

Was never worried

To get in college

Or make some dollars

She said

a girl will never want you

If you can’t provide

I could care less

Shawty tell me

if you down to ride

Lost in time

Tell em

pause rewind

M.I.L we the kings

So the throne is mine

Riddles so deep the boy Sherlock Holmes couldn’t solve em

Been lurking now I’m bout to burst into the open

Clouds of dust and gunfire

Masked with tears and blood showers

They can’t hold us back no more

The worlds ours

Clock strikes twelve

Hear the toll of the bell tower

By Dorian Gray