9 Movies To Watch For Visual Inspiration

One way I beat creative rut is through watching movies, I am always on the look out of movies with stunning cinematography and beautiful set design. Movies from the past as well as independent films are most likely to have that creative visual play, they try to deviate from the tried and tested formula than most Hollywood films churn out.

I compiled a list of some of the movies I have watched that in my opinion can either kick start your creativity or make your usual weekend evening into a nice visual journey.

1. Amelie - Simply visually stunning and easily lovable. The movie is directed by Jean Pierre-Jeunet while the cinematography is done by Bruno Delbonne who is also doing Johnny Depp's latest film Dark Shadows.

2. Funny Face - Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire's stellar acting is just one thing that you'll love in this film. As a photographer I really wanted to travel and work for big fashion and lifestyle magazines photographing beautiful and talented women.

3. Enter The Void - Welcome to the dark side of the vivid city of Tokyo. If you haven't watched this then you are definitely in for a ride but be warned this film a bit heavy and really gritty. Most of the scenes are in first person view making this a little bit different from most films today.

4. Fan Chan (My Girl) - Keeping it simple is what I like with this film. It may not win any award for being visually stunning but to me this movie is like a visual cleaning agent that will leave you fresh and ready to start for that next photography project.

5. Letters to Iwo Jima - One of the few critically acclaimed war movies I really liked. Clint Eastwood did a really great job directing this film. I really like the color treatment in this movie to give it that dark and poetic touch. I can go on and on to what I like with this film but just look at the stills and see what I mean.

6. The Science of Sleep - Michael Gondry's imagination just went wild in this film. After I watched this movie I came up with tons of sketches for a set design just waiting inside my drawer when the time comes.

7. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - A surreal visual treat only in black and white plus the creepy feel. The aesthetics of this movie is just mind-blowing from the simple make-up to the scenes itself. If I where to get my hands on the film I'd take a couple of stills and enlarge it, frame and hang it in somewhere in my house.

8. Control - Another movie treated in black and white but this movie is not the vintage types since it was filmed in 2006 and was release a year after. I just love the sharp contrast and the silhouettes during the gig scene.

9. Blow-up - I will end our list with a film that is centered about the life of a fashion photographer. You will definitely pick up a lot of things from this movie. You are most likely to appreciate that we are now living in the digital age where we don't need to wait for the film to be developed just to see your work.

That concludes our list but to be honest there are still a lot of movies that can give you that visual kick. Movies like Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Across the Universe (although the story line sucks) and classic movies made by Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock. Let's not forget movies from Hong Kong like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the more recent Ip Man movies. 

If you have any films that gives you the creative kick then please do drop a comment!


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Patrick Jude M. Ilagan born June 24, 1990 is a graphic designer, photographer and content specialist based in Manila, Philippines. Patrick is a graduate of University of Santo Tomas wherein he earned his degree in Fine Arts major in Advertising.

After graduating he worked as a graphic designer and art director for on Gadgets Magazine under Great Minds Media Inc. which is a publishing company based in Quezon City, Philippines in 2011 until 2012. He then moved to Web Providers Dev. Pro as a content writer which later on became Digital Room Inc. (Philippines) wherein he became a digital marketing specialist. In the same year he moved to Web Providers Dev. Pro he also part-timed as an instructor for a local college based in Makati, Philippines wherein he taught graphic design.

Patrick wrote and made downloadable content for You the Designer which is a graphic design lifestyle blog in 2012 until early 2014 with artist Kerby Rosanes. In mid-2014 He shifted his efforts and co-founded photography lifestyle and inspiration blog named You the Photographer with George Nacpil. He is currently the blog's editor.

Patrick often refers to himself as a pixel craftsman since he is mostly working with a computer. Patrick mostly uses Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Lightroom for his work.

When not working Patrick immerses himself in TV shows, movies, books and games. He is also a fan of underground live music shows, food fairs, art exhibits and roaming around museums.