actors, art, movies

Art in Films

Gustav Deutsch earlier this year released his feature film, Shirley–Visions of Reality, recreating 13 Edward Hopper paintings around a central character. A perfect example of art mimicing art. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

Shirley and Hopper 3 IIHIH

Oscar Wilde said in his 1899 essay The Decay of Lying, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”.  One reason I’m an Oscar Wilde fan is his philosophy of aestheticism. If beauty is art and art is beauty and art is the central ingredient to happiness, then what is art and who defines art and why is it healthy to surround oneself with beauty? Are you scratching your head yet?


If you appreciate any of the following: architecture, paintings, fine cars, ballet, poetry, the movies, or Brahms–you are a lover of art and no doubt filling your senses with these by-products of humans brings you happiness. If this is too much materialism for you, then step outside and savor the majesty of the mountains, the crash of waves on ancient rock, and hear the creatures of nature whisper God’s wisdom in your ears. Art is everywhere and beauty is art.

When I or my movie buff friends claim a film is “beautiful” are we talking about the cinematography?


Terrence Malick’s film, Days of Heaven (1978) was a gorgeous film capturing the glow of natural light to perfection.


So, too, was Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975). Maybe the plot dragged, but this was one of the finest period pieces I’ve seen. I felt like every frame, every scene was like looking at a painting.


House of Flying Dragons(2004) is probably my favorite “beautiful” film.

What about art mimicking art? That is, what about films about art? Consider the biopic.


The story behind Johannes Vermeer’s 1685 masterpiece, A Girl with a Pearl Earring, was brought to life in the Peter Webber’s 2003 film starring Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firfth, and Tom Wilkinson. Poor Griet. It’s not fun being beautiful in a house full of dour shrews.  But oh, the mechanics behind painting and the oppressive lives for women in the 17th century makes it a good watch.

images Jackson Pollock in action

Ed Harris directed himself in the interesting 2000 film Pollock about the story behind the American artist Jackson Pollock. The film also starred Marcia Gay Harden, Tom Bower, and Jennifer Connelly. The tragic effects of alcohol stymied the life of the abstract expressionist. I loved the performance by Marcia Gay Harden, his wife who stood by her man even though he was a philander including his patron, Peggy  Guggenheim.


I have yet to see Goya’s Ghosts (2008) starring Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman and written and directed by Milos Forman. Has anyone seen this? How could it be bad with that pairing?

Does art bring you joy? Is film an art form, in which case, what’s your favorite beautiful film?

actors, directors, movies, oscars

Knight of Cups


I’m bored. Where are the great films of 2013? I wish we did not have to wait for the fall/winter to watch the big contenders fighting for the awards’ season.  I am excited about an upcoming film. Any way you stack the deck, this one HAS to be great–Terrence Malick’s, Knight of Cups.


Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett. A dream cast! Directed by Malick? How could it be bad?


So we don’t know anything. The plot is under wraps. We know it’s in post-production but no release date set other than some time in 2013. Here are some random facts I can share, however.


Did you know Mr. Malick comes from Ottawa, Illinois? Why, that’s only thirty miles from my hometown! When I run into him, that will be my ice-breaker. We’ll talk about corn and tomatoes. He will be suitably impressed and ask me to write a screenplay for him. (Told you I was bored.)


Okay, if you are into Tarot cards, you know all about the Knight of Cups. Be my guest and educate me. The title of the film should shed a clue about the protagonist or plot or meaning of the film. I do recognize that tarot cards have been around for hundreds of years, and if you don’t believe in the cards, just look at the artwork. They are pretty to look at, aren’t they? Once a Tarot reader said I was going to be wealthy. I’m still waiting. Anyway, I went to: to find some background into the meaning of the Knight of Cups. I make no claim this site is valid. I’m just trying to get an inside take on the title of the film.


Our Knight of Cups is what I’d guess a knight to be: cunning, an evocative lover, and mesmerizing. A powerful person who can charm anyone. Their symbols include running water like waterfalls and rivers. When the Tarot reader lays the card on the table and the cup is up, positive attributes such as “effective” and “sensitive” are his adjectives. But when the reader lays the card and the cup is pointing down, that’s when the negative associations like “manipulative” and “vain” and “volatile” come to play.

Who in the film is the Knight of Cups? Is it Christian Bale and will the cup be up or down?