Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mark Friedberg, production designer

COLOR. Beautiful, rich, vibrant, COLOR. Thats what I have gotten most from Mark Friedberg.

Now, I'll say right off the bat that I haven't seen all of his films. In fact, going thru the list, I haven't even seen half. But those that I have seen have made a HUGE impact on me and the way I look at color. I'm going to concentrate on two of his works that I know best (both done with director Wes Anderson) - "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" and "The Darjeeling Limited."

To look and see how much "The Life Aquatic" and its colors have influenced me, just look at my design for Finned Friends. The colors in "Life Aquatic" are so brilliant, so beautiful. The blues of the water, the uniforms; the red caps; the beautifully yellow sub and helmets; the multicolored ocean life. Everything in this movie is just one step beyond real life - the set for the interior of the ship is several stories high and is esentially a bisected diagram of a boat brought to life. Even with this heightened reality (and anyone familiar with Cousteau's films will recognise at least some of the inspiration), the colors are so vivid that they stand out.

I've already gushed at length about "The Darjeeling Limited" Oranges, saffons, umbers, and ochres glow in this movie (with turquoise providing a lovely counterpoint). Speaking of painting with light - the sky in this movie frequently reflects the color palette of the film as well. (Reminder to self: do an article on Milena Canonero as well, the costume designer behind these films as well as a bunch of other AMAZING movies...) The colors of India as portrayed in the movie are vibrant, earthy, and beautiful.

Watch these (and others Mark Friedberg Production Designed, including Broken Flowers, Pollack, and Ice Storm) for a taste of what color can do for a story.

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