Architecture of Film

Architecture of Film

Mark Chamberlain
Mar 20, 2013

Film-buff alert! Here's a hoot: I have a dear friend and colleague who's been working on a blog project for quite some time, and over the weekend I was completely immersed in it. I think it's high time I mentioned Benjamin Marcus and his Architecture of Film series.

For once I'm not writing about color here specifically, though this slides easily under my Color in Film banner, as well as Apartment Therapy's mission to provide inspirational resources. In my film series I look for ways in which color defines character, or even becomes a character in a film, in part so that you at home will perhaps understand how that bright orange or bubblegum pink wall is informing your own character. Here, too, I think Mr. Marcus is describing not only pronounced examples of how architecture influences a filmic narrative, but furthermore how architecture can become a "mechanism for a way of seeing," and acts as a retainer of public ideology.

As an example, the lead photograph is from Deception, 1946. The factory sash atrium windows absolutely scream Artist (composer, really, that's a piano in the background), but the size, scale and East River views in the background indicate that this composer is either at the top of his game, or that this set is actually a very broad signifier meant to trigger every single cliché or archetype of what it means to be an artist living in New York.

I'll provide a few photos here to whet your appetite -- please see the blog for a full description. Mr. Marcus loves a taxonomy, and once in his website you'll find further fun things to peruse, such as Kitchens in Film, Furniture in Film, Parties in Film and Title Designs. Architects, production designers, furniture designers are all noted where possible. I wish I'd thought of this myself.

Pictured above:
1. Deception, 1946.
2. Blade Runner, 1982.
3. Le Mépris, 1963.
4. Diamonds Are Forever, 1971.
5. Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, 2009.
6. The Great Gatsby, 1974.
7. The Best of Everything, 1959.
8. Auntie Mame, 1958.
9. Reversal of Fortune, 1990.
10. Sleeper, 1973.
11. The Fountainhead, 1949.

Read More: Architecture of Film

See also Color Therapy in Film:
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
9 1/2 Weeks
Cries and Whispers/
BUtterfield 8

(Images: film stills by Benjamin Marcus)
Written in part as an ongoing dialogue with the author

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