Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cinema Style: Lisbeth

Cinema Style: Lisbeth

This set was completely unexpected.  I knew that I wanted to move on from The Dark Knight Trilogy for some more movie sets, but I was at a standstill as to what movie or character I was going to review next. Luckily, my Netflix Instant Queue led me to the answer.

I have always had a love for a good crime mystery. When I was younger, I used to watch the Murder, She Wrote series starring Angela Lansbury, even though many of the episodes originally aired years before I was born. I went on to watching Law and Order, which introduced me to Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Although not as popular as the Special Victims Unit series, it still remains one of my favorite television shows. It was not just the complex crimes and search for who did it (many times, it is revealed to the audience early on who the killer in question is); it was the performance of Vincent D'Onofrio as the character Robert "Bobby" Goren. His complex back story revealed throughout the series sheds light on his unorthodox methods to seek justice. Though he is many times questioned by his colleagues and partner about his actions, his search for the truth always serves as his redemption.

Vincent D'Onofrio as Robert Goren

My love for Lisbeth is similar to that of Bobby. She is someone who has been through tragedy, hardships, and stripped of her rights as a free person because of her search for justice against her father. And yet, though she appears to be stone cold and apathetic to the average person, she has a great capacity for love. She demonstrates this throughout the series, whether it is the scene where she feeds her former guardian Holgar after he suffers from a stroke, or saving Mikael's life towards the end of the first film. What is equally remarkable are the sacrifices the characters who are close to her are willing to go through in order to protect her. Mikael puts his career and relationships on the line in order to seek justice for her. Paolo and Miriam nearly burn to death in a barn, though they could have at anytime revealed what they knew of Lisbeth's whereabouts. Her own doctor Anders goes against the prosecutor's wishes in order to help Lisbeth while she is confined to the hospital.

So what makes these characters do this? How can some people so easily hate and wish her harm while others seem to almost gravitate to her? Noomi Rapace does a remarkable job of telling the story through body language and looks rather than language (In comparison to other protagonist or actors that are first billed, Rapace does not seem to have as many lines as would be expected). Although she may spit venom with nearly every word she speaks, her gestures tell another story; her holding Mikael's hand as they lay together, the brief smile she gives Anders, the nod she gestures towards her lawyer Annika signaling their triumph.

Millennium Trilogy movie posters

The set has the familiar lack of color that Lisbeth dons in the trilogy. A mix of punk rock and biker clothing pieces and accessories ties them all together. The hairspray is one which Lisbeth uses amply to create her head turning mohawk she displays at her trial. The stack of books represent the scientific DNA textbook she is given by her doctor in order to pass the time as she awaits her trial in her cell. The necklace was a special touch; I thought it was funny how she insisted on having some pizza to eat while she was recuperating, and Dr. Anders pulls enough strings to give her some, if just so that she can become stronger both physically and mentally. I did try and include three things to represent the three book titles: the dragon piercing, the Alicia Keys lyric from "Girl on Fire", and the Burt's Bees chapstick.

I always found it interesting that Lisbeth's father asserts himself to be a survivor, but through him alienating himself from those who have helped him, he ends up being killed. As a parallel, Lisbeth does not ask for help from anyone, but people come together in order to protect her, making Lisbeth the true survivor.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cinema Style: Bruce

Cinema Style: Bruce

It seems as though it has taken me forever and a day to finish this set. Most of the issue came with trying to figure out who exactly Bruce Wayne is in order to frame a proper set around the character.

Unlike what it may appear, I do put a lot of thought into my sets, some more than others. Trying to embody a character with an outfit piece and some accesories became more challenging than I originally anticipated, especially for the complex character of Bruce Wayne. I originally struggled with whether I should do one for Batman or Bruce Wayne, which I believed to be two different style entities in themselves. Because I did the last set for Selina rather than "Catwoman", I decided to go with the person rather than a character within a character.

But even this decision did not end my puzzlement. Bruce himself wears two masks in the films: the playboy billionaire that the public sees, and the terrifying vigilante jumping off rooftops. But which is truly Batman? Certainly not the former; Rachel Dawes makes a point in Batman Begins that Bruce's true face is the one criminals fear. However, if Bruce Wayne is solely "Batman", then I do not feel he would have made a point to repair the Bat's autopilot in order to live out his life in peace without being that persona; he would have given up his will to live altogether.

So Bruce Wayne is somewhere in between. A man, not a creature. He believes in justice. He misses his parents. He has had some, err, women troubles through the movies. He likes his toys; both Batman and Playboy enjoy driving in the fast lane, whether it be in the Tumbler or a Lamborghini. He is definitely a techie and researcher, making the Otterbox iPhone and the typewriter important in their own right. He enjoys being talked about and making a scene; he excitedly reads the newspaper in Batman Begins to see that both Batman and Playboy had their own articiles dedicated to them.

The dress was the most difficult part of the puzzle. I ended up going with this one for two reasons: the texture and the color. The texture of the dress looks pieced and put together similar to Batman's armor in the last two movies. The color itself is very important. The blue undertone of the dress connects to the idea of the "rare blue flower" Bruce is sent out to retrieve in order to figure out the answers he is searching for. It represents the search that Bruce sets out for himself to achieve, and stops at nothing not only to take the flower to Ra's al Ghul's lair, but also to figure out the true power that such small things -like a little flower at the top of a mountain -can hold. The journey does not come full circle until is able to see another "rare blue flower": Selina, in their final scene in the film. Her blue dress is striking compared to her usual black dresses and dark ensembles back in Gotham. Just as the first flower symbolized the beginning of Bruce's jounrney to become Batman, the second flower symbolizes the new beginnings of Bruce Wayne (or whatever alias he goes by in Italy).

Yes, I can very well be over analyzing the movie and costumes, but I enjoy doing so.

If you're interested, I came across another analysis of the tie between the flower and the dress over on The Bat and the Cat tumblr page that is different from my own, but quite interesting nonetheless.

Next, it's time to move on to another movie. So many choices! I am trying to veer away from Disney ones, mostly because I have done so many in the past, and concentrate more on live action movies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cinema Style: Selina Kyle

Cinema Style: Selina Kyle
This set was a lot of fun to put together. I love Nolan's version of Selina Kyle/Catwoman compared to other interpretations of the character. In the past -at least to me -Catwoman seemed to only represent the sexy villain trying to seduce Batman to her side. Nolan's character seemed more realistic; she is portrayed as a struggling poor young woman, and though she does have skills in the seductress department, she is still human. She cries when she thinks that all of her work is in vain. She is scared when the bad guys surround her. She is not so human that she is the damsel in distress character either; she is able to carry her own and work with Batman, not simply being saved by him.

Selina Kyle's costume in the movie seemed to reflect a different sort of intrigue than what would normally be associated with Catwoman. It is made up of minimalist and dark color pieces that have a close fit, but no overtly revealing cuts. To me, this allows her to blend in more with the upper class she steals from. The outfit is just enough to fit in with the rich, while not enough to make her stand out from the crowd; a perfect combination for a cat burglar.

I came across the long sleeve dressed and instantly knew it would be something Selina would have in her run down studio apartment. I felt as though she would appreciate the Chanel eau de parfum, and may even use it a time or two prior to going to the latest gala. The pearl string necklace is a homage to the one which she steals from Bruce Wayne at the beginning of the movie. I chose the shoes to be the one non-traditional piece to her ensemble, and maybe purchased with the money made from one of her heists.

Cinema Style: Bane

Cinema Style: Bane

To say I'm a big Nolan fan would be an understatement. It is only fitting that I create a set surrounding one of my favorite bad guys.

Even though I've made a number of other outfits inspired by movie characters (Ariadne, Bella), those were mainly based on me trying to get the outfit as close to what is worn in the movie as I could. With this set (and the others I will be creating in the series), I tried to concentrate more on the character rather than the costume. For instance, the shirt I chose for the Bane set reads "If not now, when?" which reminded me of the liberation he tried to inspire the struggling people of Gotham with. I did try and make the jacket as close to the one worn in the movie, just because I knew that there were already jackets that were similar to them. The watch is also a necessary component. It represents the timer for the bomb that will inevitably go off in Gotham, fulfilling Ra's al Ghul's original plan.

I will most likely make a couple of other sets around characters from The Dark Knight Trilogy (Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle) before movie onto other movies NOT by Nolan.