A lot of people assume that a film can only be one of two things: visually stunning or narratively satisfying. This is why you will find a lot of cinephile snobs who will say they would rather watch a Palme d’Or award than any of the mainstream films. Or worst, that they prefer shaky cam films because it is more “authentic” — it is the story that makes you want to watch more, anyways.
However, why can’t a film be both? A breathtaking cinematography coupled with a really significant content makes for a grand film. Mind you, good cinematography does not mean CGI effects. It can be as simple as a smart use of colours, a symmetrical visual, or a well shot landscape.
In this article, we will give you a rundown of some of the best visually stunning films that are perfect for your movie marathon.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Let’s start this list with a director who is known for his symmetrical shots and unique visual experiments — Wes Anderson. The Grand Budapest Hotel is where he, together with cinematographer Robert Yeoman, ASC, experimented on various aspect ratios. Most famous is the use of the Academy ratio (4:3), used during the 1930s. Of course, the staple panoramic, symmetric, shot from Anderson films are still there (mostly used in the 1960s). These, paired with his amazing use of colour to make a simple scene pop.
This film is about concierge Gustave H and his adventures at The Grand Budapest Hotel, in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, and lobby boy Zero Moustafa who eventually became his friend.
Inside Llewyn Davis
The best part about this film is it allows you to see how Llewyn Davis perceives the world using the washed out filter for the entire film. The story tackles loneliness, and by using that colour palette, it is definitely like taking a tour inside his mind. This is all thanks to screenwriter and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, who is known for another brilliant film titled Amélie. He wanted something to represent the sadness throughout the film. And if you watch the film, the lack of light really does emphasise that emotion — of course, it helps that Oscar Isaac is such a wonderful actor.
Science Fiction is known for grand CGI effects, from spaceships and satellites blowing up left and right. Which is why Gravity, a collaboration between director Alfonso Cuarón and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, is such a breath of fresh air in the genre. While everything is CGI, their focus on light play make the movie seem like it is literally in space. The use of shadows showing the vastness of space, and their technique of constantly moving the camera so that it highlights the lack of gravity, makes you relate to the struggles of the character more.
The Life of Pi
To cap off this list is a film considered to be the most beautiful film to come out of 2012. A film that is mostly CGI, The Life of Pi brings to life the story of a young boy who survived a shipwreck with a Bengal Tiger he calls Richard Parker. He goes through a journey of spirituality, survival, and practicality. The most impressive CGI of all is the Bengal Tiger; its mannerisms and its chemistry with actor Suraj Sharma, who plays Patel, makes it a must-see film.
Of course, you can’t appreciate visually stunning films like the ones listed here if you can watch it on high quality television. So it’s a good thing you can buy your Samsung TV from Harvey Norman right now and enjoy all shades of colour and high quality cinematography brought to life with its Quantum Dot Technology.
Anyway, enough technical chatter. Download these films now and start watching!