Cinema is an Art form inherently based around the visual image. To celebrate this notion, every week, there will be 5 stills uploaded onto this blog due to their power to resonate emotionally. Whether they are beautiful, technically perfected, memorable, geniusly disgusting, or meet their intentions – they will be put on here.
1. The Tree of Life (2011)
I think it’s an image of just astounding beauty – not least because my favorite colour is blue. To say why I love it is to merely describe it: the endless sand stretching all the way up to the panorama, the way Jessica Chastain is given an angelic, almost goddess-like quality, the perfect symmetrical shadow she leaves behind, the sun in the distance…
2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
There are lots of terrifying and uncomfortable shots in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – this one remains to me to be the most intense. It captures the madness of the situation and the fear Sally is experiencing: the bulging of the eye, the tear, the pumping blood gushing into the centre of her pupil, the sweat, the rednes around the eye-lid…
It really does capture the emotions of this character succinctly and has left a powerful grasp on me.
Ingmar Bergman invents his own motif of showing the blending of identity in this film: a medium two-shot of two characters side by side – with their shoulders at the bottom of the frame. This is perhaps the most artsy one: capturing the light and dark shades of the inner turmoils of the characters via expressionistic lighting. Persona has the most gorgeous black and white cinematography, and this is one of my favorite stills from the film.
4. Empire (1964)
Empire blurs the line between painting and film. It is also profoundly dull. This still could be applied to every frame of the film, because every frame (albeit the opening titles) is of the Empire State Building.
5. El Topo (1970)
Filled with such random strangeness, El Topo is a film I admire for its inventiveness but don’t particularly like. It is all symbolism and no meaning. Filled with obscure shots and obscure images it is indeed. This is the least obscure image of the film, and for me the most powerful – capturing a disturbing amount of bloodshed. It’s the way the blood draws our eye all the way to the distance of the frame, like a line on a map – further accentuating this are the numerous dead bodies.
And for weirdness sakes, Alejandro Jodorowsky as the title character helps a young naked boy (why he is naked is never known) through this barren land of depravity. To further enhance the weirdness is the fact that this is Jodorowsky’s own son.