Film Meets Art: Christopher Nolan, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach Discuss Painters That Inspired Their Work

Film Meets Art Christopher NolanFilmmakers draw their inspiration from absolutely everywhere -- every experience they've had, place they've been, song they've heard. For some, obscure historical events triggers their creativity, while for others, it could be a simple photograph -- the title character from Wes Anderson's Rushmore, Max Fischer, was inspired by a photo by Jacques Henri Lartigue. The Tate Gallery in London has launched a fascinating series of videos entitled "Film meets Art" that asks prominent U.K. directors about which works of art from famous painters have inspired their films.

It's always engaging learning about where our favorite filmmakers take their inspiration from. It gives us a chance to see the world through their eyes. The photos, paintings, songs, and places that some pay no attention to were actually the sparks that ignited the fires that became our favorite characters and films.

The rawness of Francis Bacon lives in the smeared makeup of the Joker. The beautiful vistas in Vanilla Sky breathe Monet. Caravaggio has lit so many of Martin Scorsese's films.

Thus far, Film meets Art has focused on three directors: Christopher NolanMike Leigh, and Ken Loach.

In this first video, Nolan explains his fascination with Francis Bacon's work, which started when he was young. He says that, to him, Bacon's work represents distortions of memory and faces, and also contains a bleakness and tonality that translates interestingly in all of Nolan's films. In fact, Nolan says that he referenced Bacon while creating the makeup for the Joker in The Dark Knight.

Mike Leigh, who has directed films such as Vera Drake and Happy-Go-Lucky, is making a film on British Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner called Mr. Turner. In the video below, he discusses three of his paintings that inspired scenes in his film.

In the video below, Ken Loach discusses William Hogarth, whose artistic style ranges from realistic to comic. However, Loach was most inspired by Hogarth's ability to capture -- an entire lifetime's worth of experience in a face. Loach brings up a brilliant point when he says that most portrait painters, in his opinion, are lacking because they focus too much on the clothing and frocks instead of the face -- a sensibility Loach practices in his own work.

What about you? What artists/works inspire you? Let us know in the comments below!

Link: How art inspires film directors Christopher Nolan, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach -- Tate

[via Filmmaker IQ]

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Early Mike Leigh = great. (The later stuff is far too sentimental for me, and somewhat self-parodic. The performances scream self-consciously 'I'M IN A MIKE LEIGH FILM, THIS IS GREAT WORK!!').

Particular early-Leigh favourites: Bleak Moments, Kiss of Death, Nuts in May, Abigail's Party, Grown Ups, Meantime.

Can't see any painterly influences in his work tbh (some it is perhaps Lowry-esque in its grey, English bleakness). Visually his best films are rather perfunctory, TV-looking, it's not what he's about imo.

December 7, 2013 at 12:39PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


inspiration from art….makes it worth the long shooting day

December 8, 2013 at 7:30AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Another example would be Dario Argento/Edward Hopper in "Profondo Rosso" (Deep Red).

December 12, 2013 at 5:59PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM

Felipe Opazo

I've always been inspired by the surrealists, Dali and Bunuel, as well as the other-worldliness of M.C. Escher. In fact, I used to imagine Escher attaching chairs (designed by Dali) to the ceiling and the four of us strapping ourselves upside down on the ceiling and drinking Bunuel's tequila.

December 13, 2013 at 4:56PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM

Kenn Pearson

I wonder if Buñuel was inspired by Buñuel...

December 14, 2013 at 9:31AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM

V Renée
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