This Sunday, May 5, I will have the honor of hosting Movie Talk on Sunday for the second time! In case you’ve never heard of #MTOS, it’s an engaging Twitter discussion for all cinephiles that happens once a week.
People from around the world turn out, so the mix of viewpoints promises a variety of insights and lots of fun. (It was so much fun last time I hosted that I ended up in Twitter jail! Attica! Attica!) I hope that you, dear reader, will join in and add your responses to the conversation.
I chose film costumes as my topic, because, let’s face it, they’re fun to talk about! And, unlike many elements of cinematic language, clothes are something we all know something about, don’t we? We wear our identity in our clothes, our daily version of costumes. We’re also in the habit of decoding other people’s clothing to figure out who they are. (Unless you live naked on a private island, in which case, that too is a distinct fashion statement.)
Too often overlooked in film analyses, costumes shape our perceptions of characters and their relationships. As in the case of the infamous “shopping montage” cliché, whole scenes may revolve around costumes. Iconic articles of clothing help us recognize genres: can you imagine classic film noir without the trenchcoat and the Fedora? Or a Western without jeans and the cowboy hat? Whether we’re aware of it or not, costume colors, textures, sometimes even the sounds they make also enrich the aesthetics of any given movie and deserve greater scrutiny.
So, to slip into something more comfortable, here are the questions:
1. To get started, which film costume impressed you and stayed with you most vividly?
2. Costumes can be used to transform a character or signify how they’ve changed. Which film has done this well?
3. Which director, in your opinion, has made the best use of costumes to enhance the look and style of his/her films?
4. Costumes sometimes serve to contrast characters through their different clothing styles. What’s a movie that has done this well?
5. The power of costuming can work for comic effect. What’s a movie outfit that added to the humor of a scene or made you laugh?
6. What’s a good example of a costume (or accessory) that serves as a key plot point in a film?
7a. Which male movie character has the best/coolest wardrobe?
7b. Which female character?
8. Which movie star’s image is most associated with their costumes they wear (or wore)?
9. Has a film’s costuming ever really disappointed you? Which movie and why?
10. Have you ever copied a movie character’s style? How did that work out for you?
Put on your Sunday best and join the costume ball on May 5!