Team Experience is sharing favorite love scenes for Valentine's. Here's Josh...
It's a familiar and tested recipe to throw a beautiful period frock on an actress worth their weight in Oscars, and set her literary romantic troubles against a luscious location. Actressexuals and their mums will be clutching their pearls in the cinema on the first night it opens, and rewatching on DVD instead of reading the book for years to come. But let this not detract from The Painted Veil, the underrated and oscarless (not even nominations!) gem from 2006.
That divine poster image of Edward Norton and Naomi Watts drifting along the river is plucked from the films most beautiful scene. The scenes beauty is due in no small part to Alexander Desplat's score that rides the romance of the film perfectly. His 'River Waltz' which accompanies the scene echoes the films romantic arc, its gentle chords and progressive structure mirrors the very real struggle of Kitty and Walter as they have 'waltzed' around one another in a tricky marriage, peppered with early acts of deliberate cruelty. As they ease into the relationship, and let the rhythms of their new life together guide them, they become entwined and supportive partners. The score also playfully references Gnossienne No 1 by Erik Satie, a piece used in the film first diegetically playing in the party that Walter first swoons over Kitty passing him in the hallway, and then again as Kitty plays the tune on a rickety piano in the orphanage as he watches on. A moment of projected love, and a moment of genuine discovery of love.
And the scene is lusciously visual. Much credit to the location scouts for finding this location in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China. Wide blue eyed Naomi and her gorgeous lace parasol, and swoon worthy Ed Norton in a crisp linen shirt, set against those towering rock faces and sprawling bamboo. It's a smorgasbord of romanticism and a perfect antithesis from their first gruelling journey, one that Walter made them make on foot, to punish Kitty. This is a rare romance that let's us fall in love the same time the characters do.