Films With Vivid Cinematography

As a photographer and visual artist, cinematography is a very important part of learning capturing movement, good composition, and knowing the right angles for subjects. I am becoming more and more interested in film, and may be making my own short film soon! Here are films rich in meaning and still shots.

The Virgin Suicides (1999) Dir. Sofia Coppola


To understand some of the symbolism and rich meaning in the film, paying attention to cinematography is crucial. Pay attention to the girls’ room, the bathroom filled with beauty products and tampons. How Lux’s hot pink bra is draped over the crucifix. If you are a teenage girl this movie (as well as every other Sofia Coppola film) is a must-see. It is my all time favorite.

Blue Velvet (1986) Dir. David Lynch

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Notice the stark colors, and how her blue eyeshadow and red lipstick match the roses in the opening scene. This film is strange and it took me some time to process, i’m not sure I completely get it, even now. But I did have an appreciation for the cinematography.

Palo Alto (2013) Dir. Gia Coppola


An incredible director and photographer of youth and freedom, Gia Coppola knows best. She captures desires and vulnerability in stoic and tough characters or subjects better than anyone else. This film makes me want to move to California and start over with new friends. This film makes me appreciate being 17.

Jackie (2016) Dir.  Pablo Larraín

Jackie should have been made a long time ago. Natalie Portman’s beautiful performance paired perfectly with cinematography that portrays Jackie Kennedy as strong, extremely poised, and independent. The films scenes are quiet but powerful and elegant just like she was. I cried, and you will too.

American Beauty (1999) Dir. Sam Mendes


Notice the use of color and lighting in these scenes; the intense red heightens the mood and themes of desire and the nature of humanity. Just watch it for yourself. Seriously.