Winter on the silver screen: 3 must-watch films
As the renowned film director Andrei Tarkovsky once said, "cinema is a mosaic made out of time.”
Films have the power to freeze moments in time and to transport viewers to other worlds. It is a medium that awakens multiple senses and captures our imagination.
Sometimes, settings play an important role and become equal to all the other characters in a film. Such is the role of different seasons in some movies, where they determine the story's development. In some films, winter plays a central role, providing us with crucial information about the characters' lives.
Here are three films that are ideal for watching in the winter season.
1.The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a 2014 film by Wes Anderson, which tells the story of a concierge accused of murder. The story starts and develops in wintertime, which gives the film a magical atmosphere. Wes Anderson is famous for using contrasting, vibrant color palettes and symmetry, but this time, he created one of the most memorable and unique settings ever.
Winter in the plot doesn’t just play a decorative role. At the beginning of the movie, we learn that the season of the Grand Budapest Hotel is winter — the time when everything is alive and most vibrant. The pink building contrasts beautifully with the white snow covering the mountains in which the hotel is nestled.
Winter is usually associated with melancholy, accompanied by the longing of warmth and comfort, yet, in the Grand Budapest Hotel, winter plays the role of a magnet attracting joy and humorous adventures.
The season is a defining quality of the film, and winter is one of the most memorable characters in the story of this grand luxury hotel and its inhabitants. It’s impossible to imagine the film set in a different season. At the same time, winter helps create the funniest, most adventurous, romantic, and wild locations. The Grand Budapest Hotel is full of many intriguing characters, but all of them gain in depth through the beauty and complexity that winter inspires.
Perhaps the most gruesome image of winter was introduced by Stanley Kubrick in his 1980 classic The Shining. The film is an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel under the same title.
And it’s no wonder that The Shining still lives up to its hype. It's a film full of raw, intense emotions entangled with madness, alienation, and separation. Throughout this film, winter is one of the most significant characters since it is both the cause and the facilitator in the plot's development.
The Shining follows the story of a family, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and their son, Danny (Danny Lloyd). After getting a job at the hotel in the Rocky Mountains, Jack and his family move to the remote area that closes in winter. Jack is informed about the hotel's past and the story of a massacre that took place years ago, but he still chooses to go with his family since he expects the remote site to be an influential and peaceful place for him to work on the long-started novel.
Things take a wrong turn once winter starts to take over, though. The hotel becomes totally isolated from the outside world and keeps its inhabitants alone with themselves and their emotions.
In the film, winter plays the role of alienating the other characters from the outside world, which causes them to lose contact with others and Jack to lose his mind. Winter brings out raw emotions and buried feelings amid social expectations.
Winter manipulates primitive, aggressive emotions that Jack is holding, reflecting the power this season holds. In a way, it plays the role of a genius mastermind who knows the human subconscious well. But in the end, we see that winter puts the final dot on their story and freezes the horror of the family adventure.
The film leaves spectators speechless, making us question the influence different seasons have on our conscious and subconscious desires.
3.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal love and the complexity of feelings play a central role in Michel Gondry’s 2004 drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The film follows the story of a couple, Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet), and their attempt to erase their feelings for each other.
To forget their painful relationship, both try to take a new, modern approach and use a company that offers service to moderate their memory and delete the part they choose. The journey is shown through time lapses and takes place in different phases of the characters’ lives.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a melancholic story that is mostly set in winter. Characters experience a variety of negative emotions and personal transformations, which are intensified by the season. Winter inspires their attitude towards life, each other, and their love for one another. Even though winter infuses the film with melancholy, it also teases out brave emotions from the characters and gives them a chance to get out of their comfort zone and closer to each other. In this sense, winter also provides comfort and a source of adventure.
The season brings back memories and feelings which we can trace back to thoughts we have yet to discover. Still, with strong associations and its power to create an atmosphere full of possibilities, winter contributes to Joe and Clementine’s happy ending.
Cinema has the power to tell a story, perhaps better than any other medium. It can communicate a character's hidden motivations to the audience, and some stories would be impossible to imagine taking place in another season other than winter.
Credits for the Main photo: The Grand Budapest Hotel Official Trailer
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