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Costume design – A low key but ESSENTIAL element of cinema



Often the resource is not properly recognized

Traditional Oscar category, recognition of the best costume always draws attention to the sector. Among the nominees for the 2021 edition is Emma, ​​a period drama starring Anya Taylor-Joy who leaves as a favorite to take the statuette, largely due to the traditional preference of the ‘Academy for the typical costumes of the sub-genre. However, it’s important to highlight the fierce fighting that other contenders like Mulan and The Supreme Voice of the Blues bring to the table, thus enriching the category.

The point is, while it’s not one of the most anticipated parts of the night, aside from the occasional editions, the celebration of the best costume has a big recognition effect on one of the most anticipated storytelling tools. older than a filmmaker has to tell. his stories. In this way, the costumes worn by the cast, and here it is emphasized that it doesn’t have to be a period film, are a very personal way in which each character present can express who they really are without. resort to words.

In Costume Design: Defining Character, an educational guide developed by the Academy of Oscars in partnership with Deborah Nadoolman Landis, early on the importance of the narrative that belongs to this department and how it serves the film in a discreet but essential way.

“Emma” is the favorite to wear the best costume statuette

“All clothes used in a movie are considered costumes. Costumes are one of the many tools the director has to tell a story. Costumes communicate the details of a character’s personality to the audience and help actors become that new individual on screen ”.

With this in mind, the moment of making the costumes must go hand in hand with several other departments, starting with the scenario still in the study phase. It is imperative that the costume designer understands the script of the work, especially with regard to the details of the narrative, both general and specific. For this, the vision must align with the director’s proposal not only on the story alone, but also on the cast, the color palette to be used by the cinematographer and even the lighting composition of every scene.

Attention to detail in visual composition generally characterizes great historical works and therefore their filmmakers. Stanley Kubrick, hailed as one of the great geniuses of cinema, was famous for his obsession with research whenever his films were still in the pre-production stage. So period productions like Barry Lyndon, futurists like 2001 – A Space Odyssey and even his films that were never born like Napoleon involved extensive historical study.

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Kubrick was a perfectionist by nature and “Barry Lyndon” was no different.

It is also an imperative stage of the pre-production of the costumes according to the position of Deborah Landis. Once the views are aligned, it is necessary to conduct a research process involving multiple sources and even face-to-face transportation of the team to certain locations. After this phase, the individual characterization of each character enters, where their clothes dialogue with both the makeup of that individual and the situation in which the plot finds itself.

With this throughout the film, the costume tends to show how the character went from an “point A” at the beginning to a “point B” at the end. La La Land has aesthetic work that fits very much into this situation, mainly in the costume of the character of Emma Stone, which varies seasonally throughout the plot; thus creating the feeling that the character has not only changed over time, but also that the very choice to use a station structure dialogues with an element as visual as the clothing.

As for how clothing is important in identifying each character, especially in a multiple cast, this can be seen in Clube dos Cinco. In the classic by John Hughes, each of the young people present in detention has a type of clothing which, in terms of color, distinguishes him as an individual in addition to having an identifying function in the hierarchy of the school. -even. The sports star wears costumes suitable for this position, the popular girl for her, the bully for him and so on.

The composition of the costumes in “O Clube dos Cinco” has the function of visually presenting the characters.

This non-verbal exposure therefore matches what the script establishes with the dialogues and, in addition to avoiding possible repetitions, it gives the audience a sense of credibility and reality for this range of fictitious individuals. In the same article already mentioned, the question of color as an element of identification in costumes is put forward and an example is given on the work of Marie-Antoinette.

“Director Sofia Coppola thought a pastel color palette inspired by French candies would be more appealing to a young female audience, so designer Milena Canonero created ice cream colored dresses. These dresses have the silhouette appropriate for the time, but their colors do not resemble those of the vestiges of the court of Marie-Antoinette preserved in the museums ”.

Finally, clothing is an element to always pay attention to in any movie. From those who obviously want the audience to notice this element, to those with more understated clothing, each film concentrates a huge production effort in this area and it has, like the photograph or the script, its own story to tell.

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