Monday 17 December 2012

My Favourite Looking Films

        Very soon this blog is going to celebrate its third anniversary. To commemorate this occasion, I have decided to make some fairly typical but still fun lists about what else, movies. 

         First off, I have my favourite looking films. It maybe the cinematography, the settings, the effects, even the period that made me choose these films. I hope you like them :-)

2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick is one of my favourite visual film makers. His settings, use of colour, camera angles and so on are fantastic and unforgettable, and 2001 is the most remarkable out of all of them. Sci-fi never looked better.


Amelie is a film that immediately grabs one's attention with its vibrant colours, much like the personality of its titular character. The heart of the film lies as much in the story as the way it is presented to us. One of the happiest looking films there is.


I remember sitting down to watch this, sure that I will get bored and depressed out of my mind. Instead, I was left dumbfounded not just by the fantastic story and characters, but how gorgeous this film looked. From Keira Knightley to the amazingly neverending beach scene to James McAvoy's impossible eyes, this film is a visual treat.

Coffee and Cigarettes

I just love the idea of this film. Bunch of people drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes around a table. They have their little stories and quirks and moments, and they drink coffee and smoke. The overhead shots of the various coffee tables is very cool. Also, coffee and cigarettes= sexiest combination ever.


Though this film was the reason of me falling in love with Joy Division, I look back at it now and understand that it had to be in black in white to tell the story of the doomed lead singer of the band, Ian Curtis. And what glorious black and white it is.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

One of the most remarkable things about this incredibly tragic, yet ultimately uplifting film is how beautiful it is. I say remarkable because the film is from the point of view of a man on whom fate has played the ugliest trick imaginable. And yet, his world ends up looking this exquisite. I love it.

The Double Life of Veronique

Like many films in this list, I think Veronique is just magical and its look contributes to that. The lighting, the camera angles, Irene Jacob's allure are all what makes it so magnificent.

The Dreamers

The Dreamers owes much of its beauty to its cast and its setting. Michael Pitt, Eva Green and Louis Garrel are all stupendously beautiful people, and their adventures together, in their gorgeous 60s Parisian home, with all the movies that they love- it all adds up to one very pretty film.

The Hours

I don't think I have ever seen a movie in which flowers have played a more central role than in The Hours. Flowers in flower shops, vases, and on aprons, clothes, jewelry and even wallpaper. And why not? This is one of the most feminine films I have seen. Like the heroines and the men in their lives, the look of the film is delicate and sad and very beautiful.

In the Mood for Love

Wong Kar Kai's tale of two lost souls coming together is one of the most touching films that I have ever seen. I actually cried after watching this because a) it made me sad, and b) I could never make anything like that. And a big part of the second reason was how it looked. Maggie Cheung's dresses and the alleys and the rain and the cigarette smoke- it was all so beautiful that I was at a loss of words. 


'"He adored New York City. He idolised it all out of proportion." Uh, no. Make that "He romanticised it all out of proportion. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin. "'
Need I say more?

Marie Antoinette

I guess if I had to choose an absolute favourite looking film, this would be it. This is certainly the prettiest film I have ever seen. With the girly aspects, Kirsten Dunst's charm, the resplendent setting of 18th century Versailles, and of course Sofia Coppola's eye for atmosphere, how can it not?

Moonrise Kingdom

Since this is a new film, I couldn't get the exact images I thought were the most stunning in it. Which is saying a lot, because this is one of the most magical looking films that I have seen. As I said in my review, "Maybe it is because I have always lived in the city and the natural settings, all which were filmed around Rhode Island, are so singularly lovely that I could not help but feel happy and wistful just looking at the film."

Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge! is a film that fully celebrates its status of being something fantastical- we see it in the characters, the songs and of, the settings and the visuals. In this, Paris is made to be an even more impossibly enchanting place, with elephant rooms and bohemians and of course, the Moulin Rouge. The song numbers, the crazy antics and Nicole Kidman's beauty is why it is there in this list.

Pan's Labyrinth

This film, in its story and look, embraces the true nature of a fairytale- something magical and dark. Love the monsters and the atmosphere. 


Has black and white ever looked more stunning? From the leads to the setting to the camera angles to the lighting- it is just devastating to look at.


I love films which are both colour and black and white. I think Pleasantville is the best of them though, as this change is an integral part of its plot, without which the story cannot proceed. Here colour stands for being human and alive, with all sorts of feelings and desires, and black and white is what is pleasant and acceptable and the change from one to another is striking.

Schindler's List

In spite of the "unreality" of black and white images, I feel that they make this film all the more affecting and authentic. Maybe because at the time this was set, people made films in black and white. Or maybe because that is how the life of the Jews had become in Holocaust camps. I don't really know, but I do feel that this film is breath-taking in its visuals.

Scott Pilgrim VS The World

Because it's so effing awesome! I have never seen a film like this, and I highly doubt I ever will (unless Edgar Wright makes a sequel- PLEASE!). The video-game inspired look, the awe-inspiring battles between the Scott and Ramona's evil exes, just Ramona's hair- it is just so freaking cool and colourful and brilliant.

A Single Man

This story also uses colour to alleviate itself. When the protagonist George wakes up in the morning, deciding to kill himself sometime during the day, the film is bathed in greys and sober colours, like George's mood and ideas. However, everytime during the day when life happens to him, through people and dogs and one unbelievably beautiful Spanish prostitute, the screen and George's life lights up and everything becomes vivid and pregnant with colour. It's incredible to look at.


People go to see modern action films for all the effects and bombings and whatnot. Skyfall stands apart from all of that because of the way Roger Deakins shot it. All of the settings look like art pieces, with the Shanghai scene being the showstopper. Best looking action movie ever.


I was just so entranced by all the colours of this film when I saw it. Has red ever been redder, or blue bluer? This film is just a delight to watch with all its intense colours and dramatic settings.

The Third Man

This film is like a class in use of shadows and lighting. That tunnel scene alone is dazzling.

The Tree of Life

While any Terence Malick film was eligible for this list, I went with The Tree of Life because it captures growing up like how it has never been shown on screen. And what amazes me is that all of us have had these experiences at some level and Malick with cinematographer extraordinaire Emmanuel Lubezki were the first to emulate them so extraordinarily.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Because films about food, and especially chocolate, are by definition delicious.


  1. Great choices.

    I was really bored with Moonrise Kingdom, but it's probably one of the most visually beautiful films of this year!

    1. Thank you.
      I understand that pov. It really is beautiful, isn't it?

  2. Gah, what a beautiful post! It would have been perfect even without the text!
    And all the films (that I've seen) deserve a place in this list - 2001, Amelie, Atonement, The Dreamers, In the Mood for Love (!!!), Marie Antoinette and so on... I was especially happy to see Scott Pilgrim here, an unexpected choice.
    Looking forward to more of this.

    1. Thank you Mette! I actually debated about the text.
      Scott Pilgrim thrives on its visuals- it HAD to be here :)

  3. Ooh, great choices. I'd personally throw in The Fall.

    1. Thank you. The Fall is very pretty indeed.

  4. Great choices! I love the screenshots you chose too.

  5. Wonderful! I love how you put together the photos, really captures the essence and feelings of each individual films. Even for the ones I haven't seen... just looking at the photos evoke a plethora of emotions. I'd probably throw in Sin City and the recent Life Of Pi.

    1. Thank you :)
      Oh those two are definitely gorgeous.

  6. Holy crap that's an incredible list. Love the pictures you chose too, very accurate and lovely representation of each of these films. Love the inclusion of Pleasantville, I think this movie has one of the most brilliant examples of cinematography in the history.

  7. A good list. I noted that there appears to be a number of connections between Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie and Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Double Life Of Veronique. For example:

    01. Both films start with a flashback to the girls' childhoods
    02. Both girls lose their mothers and raised by their fathers
    03. Both films show exact dates as to when the girls are born
    04. Both girls discover they may have a heart abnormality
    05. Both films use saturated colour to emphasize emotions
    06. Both girls enjoy holding and playing with a round object
    07. Both films use facial expressions to convey inner feelings
    08. Both girls make use of a lens to view the outside world
    09. Both films would suffer if the music was taken away
    10. Both girls chase a mysterious man before reversing roles
    11. Similar titles
    12. Similar looking actress
    13. Amelie helps the blind man, Veronique wants to help the old lady
    14. Reflecting light between houses
    15. Amelie sends a videotape, Veronique receives an audiotape
    16. Amelie gives Nino clues to find her whilst the puppeteer gives Veronique clues to help find him

    1. WOAH! That is crazy and well done you for noticing all this.

      Thanks for commenting :)

  8. Gorgeous post! One I would add to the list is Days of Heaven. Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary.

    1. Thank you! I debated between Days of Heaven and Tree of Life and chose the latter. Still, Days of Heaven is gorgeous!

  9. Yay! Love these picks, especially 2001, Amelie, Atonement, Diving Bell, Veronique, Skyfall, and all of the Ms, Ps and Ts. :)

  10. OMG, cool list! Plus, Skyfall is in there! Such a fantastic looking film.

    1. Haha I try to be cool. I love Skyfall's look.

  11. So many great films there: Atonement, Control, Persona, Moonrise Kingdom, Moulin Rouge, The Hours, Tree of Life, A Single man....those are my favorites, especially the last!

    1. Thanks. They are all amazing. I do love A Single Man.

  12. ANOTHER flawless list, and perfect stills to go with your picks. Recently rewatched Coffee and Cigarettes and was so taken with its symmetry; every segment is shot mostly in masters, with that trademark bird's eye view of the table. Just perfect.

    2001, The Tree of Life, Persona... no argument from me.

    1. Thanks! I was really enamoured with the whole look and all the shots.

  13. beautiful selection of movies and images - I haven't seen many films on this list (and I didn't like the dreamers). your picture collages were quite lovely, too; I'm a photographer, so let me say that you chose great material and assembled it nicely.

    Argh, I need more to assess all of this...

    PS, yes, coffee + cigarettes are very sexy, but you want to go for that in college; 10 years later, you'll just have foul breath.

    1. Thank you so much Thaddeus!

      Well, it's not going anywhere. Assess away!

      Thanks mom, I know :P

  14. God, its a BEAUTIFUL List and even more beautiful are your collages. Again, I haven't seen some of them but it is impossible to disagree with anything that I have. In the Mood for Love, Amelie, Veronique, Schindler's List, Scott Pilgrim, Tree of Life though I didn't like the movie and yes, Skyfall too. Anybody who disagrees should be banned of watching any movie for 1 year/movie. :D

  15. Well done Nikhat! This post must have taken ages to complete. And, any list that has The Double Life of Véronique, In the Mood for Love, and Suspiria in it, is a correct one. :)

    1. Thank you. Well, as long as the end result is satisfactory. Those films are awesome!