Alexa here with a year in review request straight from Nathaniel. Certain types of films seem to inspire visual artists more than others. And it isn't as simple as gorgeous cinematography or art direction; anything from a note of eccentricity, an atmospheric soundtrack, or a well-held cigarette can create an indie poster storm. (Or anything directed by Wes Anderson.) With that in mind, here are my picks for the five films of 2011 that are most likely to send future artists into fits of creation. Or, at the very least, the films that I would love to see artists of all stripes take on, so I can continue to write about them next year.
5. The Future
With a talking cat, time travel, and through-the-roof indie cred, Miranda July's second film is rife with elements that make you want to see the world through a new lens. As always, she comes close to being too cute, but the film's understanding of our collective urge to disconnect from the world, and even stop time, is enough to leave it in our minds for some time.
With his glorious 3D version of Paris in the '30s, filled with enough gears, springs and levers to fill a steampunk festival, Scorsese manages to celebrate the early days of film without eulogizing. He made a Melies for the 21st Century.
3. The Artist
Similar to Hugo in successfully making something new from a foundation of nostalgia. Its black and white photography, 1.33 aspect ratio and glowing performances take the 20s and make them sharp, clear and fresh. And hopefully it will get more art students to watch the likes of Man with a Movie Camera, The Passion of Joan of Arc and Sherlock Jr.
2. The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick's films have always been the stuff of still photographer's wet dreams, and this one is no less, with images of the sun, trees, and cosmos that make you want to point your camera to the heavens. And float like Jessica Chastain.
The most singularly cool movie of the year, with style in spades, 80s-infused titles and a soundtrack to drive to. The eruptions of violence beneath its smooth candy surface made for one terrific ride. And I live in hope that it will make scorpions eclipse owls and birds as a craft favorite.
Honorable Mention: The Muppets
If you were to pick up a paintbrush or craft box which 2011 films would most inspire you?