As a designer, the visual design of a film is really close to my heart. From the aspect ratio of the screen, the film grain, and the color grading, to the lighting, framing, and set design, every visual aspect of a film works together to help tell a story.

The Reading

For this module, you’ll read all about all the different aspects of visual design and production design in chapter 04 of The Art of Watching Films (pgs. 75 – 98).

The Watching

Then you’re going to watch two pieces of media, one film and one TV episode, that are both very strong on production design. They are both futuristic dystopias, but for very different reasons and in very different ways. Compare the visual design of each and discuss in the below questionnaire how they differ, how they are perhaps similar, and how they help push the narrative forward.

Brazil (1985)

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There are many films with great production design and visual beauty. But one that really sticks out for me is Terry Giliam’s masterpiece Brazil (1985), starring Jonathon Price and Robert Deniro (and many other fantastic people). This film is set an a futuristic dystopia where one man falls in love and tries to break free from oppressive social constructs.

 

Aside from an incredible and surreal story, Brazil is also a visual feast, combining bizarre practical effects (no CGI!), a great score, and the incredible direction of Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam.

 

Black Mirror “Nosedive” (Season 03, episode 01)

nosedive 0 230 0 345 cropBlack Mirror, for those that haven’t seen it...well, it’s just something you should watch. You can (and should) watch all five seasons on Netflix, but we’re going to watch one episode in particular for this module: the first episode of the third season. "Nosedive" is about a dystopic future where are social worth is determined by our social media presence, and the effect this has on one particular person's life.

Note: as always, the media for this can be found in the LEH 353 - Visual Storytelling library on Plex.

The Questions

Once you’ve watched these films, complete the following questionnaire.