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Dec 27 2011

Curio: 2011's Most Inspirational

Alexahere with ayear in reviewrequest straight from Nathaniel.Certain types of films seem to inspire visual artists more than others.And it isn't as simple as gorgeous cinematography or art direction;anything from a note of eccentricity,an atmospheric soundtrack,or a well-held cigarette can create an indie poster storm.(Or anything directed by Wes Anderson.) With that in mind,here are my picks forthe five films of 2011 that are most likely to send future artists into fits of creation.Or,at the very least,the films that I would love to see artists of all stripes take on,so I can continue to write about them next year.

5.The Future

With a talking cat,time travel,and through-the-roof indie cred,Miranda July's second film is rife with elements that make you want to see the world through a new lens.As always,she comes close to being too cute,but the film's understanding of our collective urge to disconnect from the world,and even stop time,is enough to leave it in our minds for some time.


With his glorious 3D version of Paris in the '30s,filled with enough gears,springs and levers to fill a steampunk festival,Scorsese manages to celebrate the early days of film without eulogizing.He made a Melies for the 21st Century.

3.The Artist

Similar toHugoin successfully making something new from a foundation of nostalgia.Its black and white photography,1.33 aspect ratio and glowing performances take the 20s and make them sharp,clear and fresh.And hopefully it will get more art students to watch the likes ofMan with a Movie Camera,The Passion of Joan of ArcandSherlock Jr.

2.TheTree of Life

Terrence Malick's films have always been the stuff of still photographer's wet dreams,and this one is no less,with images of the sun,trees,and cosmos that make you want to point your camera to the heavens.And float like Jessica Chastain.


The most singularly cool movie of the year,with style in spades,80s-infused titles and a soundtrack to drive to.The eruptions of violence beneath its smooth candy surface made for one terrific ride.And I live in hope that it will make scorpions eclipse owls andbirdsas a craft favorite.

Honorable Mention:The Muppets

Here's hoping that the return of Kermit,Gonzo and Animal inspire morefeltinganddesigningto come.But please,next time,more Miss Piggy.

If you were to pick up a paintbrush or craft box which 2011 films would most inspire you?

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Reader Comments (8)

For some reason I expected Melancholia to turn up on this list,Von Trier probably already extracts all potential artistic creations in the opening alone,but I'm sure some artist could eke out some more.Hugo and Certified Copy would probably inspire me most to create something artistic.

December 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

Ah,yes.Melancholia should be on the list;a sinister cosmos companion piece to Tree of Life.

December 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexa

As an unexpected choice,I'll stump forInsidiousagain.That film did a lot of new and interesting things with the haunted house genre and did them with a lot of style.I'd love to see this kind of approach to the afterlife explored more in fantasy and horror.Or,you know,more studios take a chance on an original standalone horror property rather than churn out sequel after knockoff after remake after sequel ad nauseam.

December 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Oh you know 20 minutes into THE ARTIST I was already brainstorming poster designs!Not sure when I'll get to it though.

And I'd love to see more art for HUGO as well.

December 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

@Andrew K: yeah,totally agree with you about Melancholia and Certified Copy.The Skin I Live In is also inspirational too.

December 27,2011 | Unregistered Commentertombeet

so does Rango...and Hanna

December 27,2011 | Unregistered Commentertombeet

Certified Copy is indeed a must for all its fantastic simulacra...but it was technically a 2010 release,so I did not include it.

December 28,2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexa

Undoubtedly the amazing romantic drama Weekend...It's a film that was energetic,beautifully shot,gorgeously acted and (possibly) the best original script of the year.I left the film in a rare mix of heartbreak and complete romantic intoxication for what a great film could do.

December 28,2011 | Unregistered Commenterian
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