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Jul 11, 2007

Fletch's Favored Five: Renaissance Films

I figure its high time I class up this joint, and what better way to do so than to honor some films that have gone beyond their appreciation of film stock and enriched our lives with that more respected medium - painting. Keep in mind, I'm no art expert, and I don't know much, but I know what I like...

While recently re-watching The Royal Tenenbaums, I was able to fall in love again with the Miguel Calderon painting to your right (and its complement - not shown) that is prominent in one of my favorite scenes. I'd rather not spoil it, so if you haven't seen the film - shame on you, first of all, as it's one of the best of the last 15 years - do so immediately and pay particular attention to a scene between Luke and Owen Wilson that takes place in Owen's characters' apartment.

Some other objects of my affection:

Much as I'm busying classing up the joint, John Hughes did so some twenty years ago with Ferris Bueller's Day Off. In what some might classify as merely being a teen comedy about a smartass slacker, Hughes not only had his trio of high schoolers taking in the stock exchange and fine dining at Chez Quis, but in what is one of the more memorable scenes, had them visit the Chicago Museum of Art, where Cameron famously gets lost in Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon."


Though the above entries are certainly hard to miss in their respective films, none are irreplaceable, and have no bearing to the plot. They most likely could have been replaced with another work of art with the audience not losing out on much. However, Magritte's "The Son of Man" gets a more prominent showcase in 1999's The Thomas Crown Affair, becoming a plot point central to the film's finale.


Amongst the many memorable sights to be seen in the Harry Potter series, the talking (and seeing, and apparently feeling) paintings that adorn the walls of the many stairwells and the dormitories has got to be one of the most creative and interesting. Though featured in some small part or another in all of the films thus far, they are given a more robust look in Prisoner of Azkaban, as the matronly woman who looks over the Gryffindor house is given quite a scare by the threat of one Sirius Black.


The work of artist Michael Sowa is featured in 2001's Amelie, and some are given speaking (or at least moving) parts as well. In what is often described as a "whimsical" film (though I find that description dismissive), seeing the artwork move and talk isn't all that unexpected, and Sowa's form lends itself perfectly to the tone of the movie.

Got more? You know what to do...


3 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Favored Five: Renaissance Films"

Bee said...

Another excellent movie for art was Frida, played by Salma Hayek. The art became a living part of the movie as the scenes unfolded. Very cool.

Rocky John M. Tayaban said...

Hi there. I'm here as promised.

You've got wonderful movie reviews here. I'll be back to read some more. Cheers.

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Anonymous said...

That scene in Royal Tenenbaums was great.

"Don't listen to me, I'm on mescaline. I've been spaced out all day."

"Did you just say you're on mescaline?"

"I did indeed. Very much so."

-theny