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)

no643 my brazil minimal movie poster chungkong art

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.


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.