The Magic of Movie Sets with Wendy Goodman & David Edelstein
Have you seen Cleopatra? The design editor at New York, Wendy Goodman, has seen it 13 times. And counting. Film critic (also at New York) David Edelstein doesn't understand why. But these two esteemed voices of design and film criticism agree on most everything else when it comes to cinema. Their talk on designers, directors, the art of set design delights the cinephile and popcorn-movie-lover alike. They gush about their favorite sets, from Citizen Kane to Boogie Nights, and discuss how design elements can make or break a film.
[On Metropolis] “Lang celebrates the power of architecture to elevate humanity while he simultaneously laments its capacity to stifle it. To me one of the things that makes a movie a masterpiece is when even the design contains a contradiction.”
[On Rear Window] “The action takes place in this one room and looking out as a voyeur, we're the voyeurs as they are the voyeurs. It is one of the most heavenly films. With a very simple construct.”
“I look at sets as metaphor. I want to see how the director's vision or the writer's vision is manifest in the environment. What is the relationship, how is the character seen in the space? What is the relationship between architecture and the worldview of the director?”
[On The Shining] “Well, I'm just scared of hotels after this film. The set design in this film was so extraordinary. I mean, just following that little figure down those halls and those twins...”
[On The Last Emperor] “I love this, of course, it's very lavish. It was the first time the Forbidden City was used as a location. So I just love this film.”
[On Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory] “First of all, that chocolate river looks like something else. I think his sets are hideous.”
“Our lives are surrounded by artifice and we're affected by that. Somehow the idea of life is to break through into the real.”
Words by The Editors.