Can a film be too beautiful to look at?March 14, 2016

Emmanuel Lubezki may have done too much of a good job in "The Reverent". He won an Academy Award for his shot of the North Dakota wilderness, which was too risky for trappers. But it had a spellbound effect. You don't want to freeze to death, but you couldn't help it. Then again, you were reminded of the chilly wind outside your room.

Professor Woodcock's lecture the other week resulted to a lively discussion. You learned that cinema was a language of images, but a beautiful shot could tell a hundred words or more. You were also taught about the works of auteur, which your coursemates called second-rate cinema. They wouldn't bother themselves to figure out the symbolism behind key scenes, as they have many items in the table. (It would mean more assignments.) It didn't surprise you that you were asked to write a paper on it.

This one took you days to think it over. You tried your college best, as you imagined yourself to be a regular moviegoer. You hesitated at this approach, as you would risk getting unsatisfactory comments from the professor. But what do you have to lose. In random order:

Life of Pi. Computer-generated imagery (CGI) was responsible for the spectacular shots of the Pacific Ocean. In fact, Claudio Miranda's photography seemed too good to be true. Yann Martel's novel was supposed to allude to Biblical stories, but the message got lost in those striking colours.

Skyfall. You loved the bleak image of the English countryside, which would reveal the humble background of James Bond. But you weren't interested in any of it. "Wuthering Heights" came to mind instead. It would be a stretch to think of Heathcliff as the next 007.

Pan's Labyrith. You were a huge fan of Guillermo del Toro, whom you suspected to be hooked to Gothic novels. It wasn't hard to see Mary Shelley writing the screenplay, even suggesting how some scenes should be shot. But she would approve of how the Pale Man came to life. Everything seemed to be suspended, and you were left waiting. And waiting.

Amélie. Bruno Delbonnel did a fantastic job in turning Paris into a setting of a fairy tale. You spent your third year in Toulouse, so you've been to Paris many times. Your coursemates tried too hard to compose romantic lines about the metropolis, but it was culture shock for you. Maybe you were expecting too much of the Parisians.

Malèna. You agreed with your housemates that Lajos Koltai was robbed of an Oscar. Monica Bellucci never looked so perfect, such that you thought she was Venus. You were green with envy at the young lad who narrated his encounters with Malèna.

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