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“You Point, I’ll Drive”

July 5, 2012

None of the images above are my photos: they are screen caps from the Mike Mills film, “Beginners”
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I recently watched the film “Beginners” again – I’ve seen it about 4 or 5 times now, which is unusual (I don’t normally re-watch movies so often). But I do think this is one of my favorites of all time and it’s an endless source of ideas, perspective and inspiration to me.

There are so many things that I like about it … I like the subtle, gentle way of telling the story and the emotional punch that is delivered, again and again, as you watch the film. I love the quirks of the characters and I love the California light. I also like it from an aesthetic point of view — it’s really inspirational to me and my work. Certain movie stills are so striking that they look more like still photographs. And I love the color palette that repeats throughout the film; not only the color blocks where the whole screen flashes from red to blue to green to yellow to purple and so on, but the more subtle color blocks within the scenes themselves (as you can see in some of the photos above – yellow, pale blue, red and pink, etc.). Finally, the interiors are incredible – the house and that furniture is amazing — yet it comes across as effortless and natural.

In terms of my own work, I’ve been really affected by Mills’ ability to create something of such stunning visual beauty that also carries an unmistakable emotional weight.  He doesn’t make a film that simply looks good – but he tells a compelling story at the same time.  It feels intensely personal and yet universal, too.

If you haven’t seen “Beginners” yet, then I would highly recommend it. Mike Mills really is a genius.

(ps: a favorite interview with Mills was published in 032c magazine in Summer 2009 and you can read it HERE).

(pps: this photo by photographer Osma Harvilahti reminds me of some of the colors and vibes in “Beginners” – it’s a current favorite of mine)

  1. July 5, 2012 4:33 pm

    The fist of flowers is such a stand-out! As indeed is Christopher Plummer, in that quietly sophisticated way of his . . . .

  2. July 5, 2012 7:30 pm

    This week I was on the long flight home from Vancouver, I put the movie Drive on and watched it twice with no sound. Just to absorb the light, compositions and sets. Highly recommended (although the soundtrack is rather great too). Basically, I get what you mean. Beginners is now on my watch list, thanks.

  3. July 5, 2012 10:09 pm

    I agree with every word you said about the film… it’s beautiful. And the dog, oh… the dog. We need to dedicate more hours of the day to let us be inspired by nice things, like this movie, for example.
    This reminds me that I have to watch it again.
    Have a great weekend!

  4. July 5, 2012 10:31 pm

    It’s my favourite movie out of everything I watched in the recent years, but I’m sort of even scared to analyse or try to understand why I liked it SO much. :)

  5. July 6, 2012 12:06 am

    so glad. this is one of my favorites! I’ve also re-watched this movie, again and again. truly feel the same way. and love those angle, subtle light and the color, beautiful lines, no exaggeration, music all about it. :)

  6. July 6, 2012 3:48 am

    i really like the flower shots. so much emotions

  7. katececilem permalink
    July 6, 2012 4:57 am

    Great movie.

  8. July 7, 2012 2:19 am

    it’s definitely one of my favorite films of all time as well.

  9. July 7, 2012 2:00 pm

    so funny that you should write about this film – i just saw it last week for the first time and was so moved by it. a gentle and lovely story. aren’t we all beginners?

  10. July 8, 2012 10:19 pm

    I haven’t seen it yet (but now feel a sense of urgency!). When I started through the photos, before reading your note, I had a terrible feeling that something had ‘happened’ – there was a real sense of story. Then I thought, wait, that guy looks familiar … :) Love seeing some of your inspiration – I always find it fascinating to hear what artists think about in terms of their creative processes. Thanks as always for sharing …

  11. July 9, 2012 2:54 am

    Yes. Too good not to like. I’d love to see “Beginners” again. I hearted almost every bit of it.

  12. July 9, 2012 1:12 pm

    I really like this movie! So inspirational :)

  13. Sara permalink
    July 9, 2012 2:34 pm

    Yes, I kept rewatching it, too! The storytelling is so honest and child-like but also serious and weighted without being heavy and gritty. So beautifully nuanced and real. And not too different to your photographs!

  14. July 10, 2012 11:23 am

    This was one of those rare films that I carried with me for ages wishing I could flip through it like a book and keep it in my back pocket. The cast was perfect, Christopher Plummer was extraordinary, and the storytelling was beautifully paced. I’m so glad you shared these stills, they’re really something special!

  15. July 10, 2012 10:21 pm

    I’ve been wanting to see Beginners for ages now! Ever since I saw the preview for it and Ewan McGregor has been one of my favourite actors for ages now. Now I definitely can’t wait to see it. Hopefully sometime this summer!

  16. July 18, 2012 5:57 am

    Great film, i managed to watch it on a flight – straining to hear above the din. I also highly recommend it!


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