Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The Imaginarium...

I was looking forward to seeing The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, not to see the final performance of the late Heath Ledger as most seem to be, but because the trailer made the film look quite unlike any film that’s been released for years. I went to the cinema knowing nothing of the story but wanting to be drawn into the weird and wonderful world I had caught a fleeting glimpse of in the trailer.
I wasn’t disappointed. With my all time favourite films mainly consisting of things like Labyrinth, this film really struck a chord with me and was a real visual treat. And one of the things that stood out the most was the amazing set design.

After seeing the film I was digging out my photos from the Museum of Childhood because Doctor Parnassus’ rickety old travelling theatre reminded me of an antique toy theatre I’d seen there, fallen in love with and been inspired by for various ongoing projects. Here (below) is the image I took at the Museum... as you can sort-of see (unfortunately my photo doesn't show the multipul layers stretching back and featuring all the different set elements), it is quite similar to the fold-out theatre seen in the film (see the top image on this post):I decided to search online to see who the set designer for the film was, and what should I find but this quote from an interview with the film’s writer and director, Terry Gilliam:

Phil Stubbs of Dreams: Could you tell me a bit about the design of the Imaginarium wagon itself and what the influences were?
Terry Gilliam: It probably began with Pollock's Toy Theatres in London. I remember when I first came here there was a shop - and it still is here. They do these Victorian toy theatres, which are cardboard cut-out ones and they have always intrigued me. In fact for the first go at it, I went down to the Museum of Childhood here in London. I knew they had several old ones there, so I just took some photographs and fiddled with them in Photoshop.

Great minds think alike eh? Me and Gilliam, we've got a bond. Anyway, I’d urge you to go and see the film and enjoy it for yourselves. As for me, I'm left with a head whirling with inspiration again and am completely re-motivated for various projects that have been gathering dust of late.

Here are some detailed shots of the theatre from the film, by Steve J on Flickr - check out his photostream for more:

Also outstanding were the costumes and makeup in the film, I'll leave you with a couple more shots to whet your appetite:


Photos can and will of course be removed if they infringe copyright - please just leave me a comment. They are simply used here to share my enjoyment of the artistic elements of the film.

1 comment:

bambiandsnowflake said...

Going to see this tonight! x

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