Great looking historical period films

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I really don't need to add to my "to watch" list but can't resist. Doesn't have to be historically accurate, it can be fantasy or even contemporary with the setting/clothes appeal of a historical film.

Off the top of my head: The Piano, Gemini (Tsukamoto), A Royal Affair and Renoir.

Is Effie Gray any good?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:26 (three years ago) link

Polanski's Tess

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Monday, 6 February 2017 22:28 (three years ago) link

Boogie Nights.

clemenza, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:28 (three years ago) link

Barry Lyndon

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Monday, 6 February 2017 22:29 (three years ago) link

Is Effie Gray any good?

No idea, but Effie Briest is.

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Monday, 6 February 2017 22:32 (three years ago) link

City Of Sadness - Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Ran - Akira Kurosawa
Barry Lyndon - Kubrick - xp'ed

calzino, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:33 (three years ago) link

but Barry Lyndon is worth posting twice.

calzino, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:34 (three years ago) link

La Reine Margot

Dinsdale, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:34 (three years ago) link

Andrei Rublev

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Monday, 6 February 2017 22:34 (three years ago) link

Pasolini's Oedipus Rex

devvvine, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:36 (three years ago) link

The Leopard
https://static01.nyt.com/images/2010/06/27/arts/KEHR-Jp/KEHR-Jp-popup.jpg

velko, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:37 (three years ago) link

oh gosh yeah, The Leopard is exquisite

calzino, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:39 (three years ago) link

I've had La Reine Margot on my list for a while and yes, it does look amazing. Maybe Blanche by Borowczyk, but his films can look a tad grubby.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:40 (three years ago) link

I thought The Libertine looked surprisingly lush.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:41 (three years ago) link

kinda cheating but The Wind Rises

devvvine, Monday, 6 February 2017 22:43 (three years ago) link

the color of pomegranates

there is something about barry lyndon that makes me feel like i'm immersed in a genuinely remote world, not just watching actors dressed up in period costumes and behaving like 20th century people with funny accents and names, but seeing people behaving and speaking in the slightly alien and unfamiliar way i'd expect from a social world that existed hundreds of years ago

tbh i'd really love to see more films that took a similar approach, but i'm not really sure how it could happen, since its presence in barry lyndon seems half-accidental, a product of kubrick's usual distancing technique and his off-kilter approach to directing his actors. like, could you make a film about e.g. ancient rome, or gilgamesh's mesopotamia, that felt like that?

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 6 February 2017 22:47 (three years ago) link

oh gosh yeah, The Leopard is exquisite

Oh God yes. Plus Claudia Cardinale.

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Monday, 6 February 2017 23:05 (three years ago) link

Earrings of Madame De...
The Emigrants
Amour Fou

to name three of hundreds

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 6 February 2017 23:47 (three years ago) link

not a movie but i've been loving the look and feel of The Knick — definitely get a bit of a Barry Lyndon vibe from it (even though it's a different time period.

tylerw, Monday, 6 February 2017 23:49 (three years ago) link

The Virgin Suicides.

I'm only being partly silly--even the original post says "it can be fantasy or even contemporary with the setting/clothes appeal of a historical film." A great-looking and meticulous recreation of the '70s is just as valid to me as Barry Lyndon (which, yes, looks amazing).

clemenza, Monday, 6 February 2017 23:51 (three years ago) link

Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh)

Everything Moves Towards The Sun (Ross), Monday, 6 February 2017 23:53 (three years ago) link

here is something about barry lyndon that makes me feel like i'm immersed in a genuinely remote world, not just watching actors dressed up in period costumes and behaving like 20th century people with funny accents and names, but seeing people behaving and speaking in the slightly alien and unfamiliar way i'd expect from a social world that existed hundreds of years ago

tbh i'd really love to see more films that took a similar approach, but i'm not really sure how it could happen, since its presence in barry lyndon seems half-accidental, a product of kubrick's usual distancing technique and his off-kilter approach to directing his actors. like, could you make a film about e.g. ancient rome, or gilgamesh's mesopotamia, that felt like that?

― (The Other) J.D. (J.D.), 6. februar 2017 23:47 (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

There are quite a lot of films that try to first and foremost immerse you in the time period that they're about, rather than portraying them, if that kinda makes sense with what you talk about? Many of them run into the problem where what seems important in hindsight rarely does so in the present, so really immersive period films can often seem impenetrable. A good example is The Assassin - talk about great looking! - which many people found really hard to understand, but in it's historical context really makes quite a lot of sense. It's just that it's characters don't get the context they're acting in either, and the film only hints obliquely at what is coming. I think Barry Lyndon gets around this because it's main character is so solipsistic as well, so there's never any frustrating/thrilling sense that something more important is happening right out of frame.

Frederik B, Monday, 6 February 2017 23:54 (three years ago) link

I could go on and on Restoration/Ancien Regime films...

Draughtman's Contract (1982)

http://cineplex.media.baselineresearch.com/images/94187/94187_full.jpg

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders (1996) THE ONE WITH ALEX KINGSTON, DO NOT SETTLE FOR LESS.

http://a2.tvspielfilm.de/imedia/0400/1930400,F0NlQMCPyrrIMoQAk7mMp5ani7sDx+N6xcFOD4ZlSGm3Y+UTbf09pMQVc4mLR42ksrrwE7ue9otRmR433VrFjQ==.jpg

my neurons made me do it (Sanpaku), Monday, 6 February 2017 23:54 (three years ago) link

Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh)

― Everything Moves Towards The Sun (Ross),

and Topsy-Turvy

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 6 February 2017 23:55 (three years ago) link

not a movie but i've been loving the look and feel of The Knick — definitely get a bit of a Barry Lyndon vibe from it (even though it's a different time period.

― tylerw, Monday, 6 February 2017 23:49

I've only seen a few episodes but the Chinese(?) areas really wowed me.

Tis A Pity She's A Whore is quite nice but a bit silly.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 7 February 2017 00:16 (three years ago) link

Sansho the Bailiff
Gate of Hell
Kwaidan
The Magnificent Ambersons

Bongo Herbert (Ward Fowler), Tuesday, 7 February 2017 10:03 (three years ago) link

Dangerous Liaisons
Fanny and Alexander
and as infamous as it is, Heaven's Gate is pretty stunning to look at.

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 7 February 2017 10:25 (three years ago) link

Days Of Heaven

and good grief yes, The Leopard is a must for anyone reading this thread.

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 7 February 2017 10:26 (three years ago) link

not a movie but I currently watch the tv show "war & peace" and it looks pretty good.
especially the army uniforms !

in a very different way, Rohmer's "l'anglaise et le duc" is interesting as he used paintings of old Paris instead of real sets.
http://buf.com/films/langlaise-et-le-duc/

and the already mentioned "Draughtsman's Contract" by Greenaway is magnificent (like many others here).

AlXTC from Paris, Tuesday, 7 February 2017 11:20 (three years ago) link

great thread

ogmor, Tuesday, 7 February 2017 11:37 (three years ago) link

Seeing as RAG also asks for 'fantasy', I also want to put in a word for the early full colour Hammer films shot by Jack Asher, the Poe/Corman films shot by Floyd Crosby, and various Italian horror movies by the likes of Bava and Freda - post-Vertigo candy-coloured Gothic nightmares, inhabiting a historical never never land, all lovingly decorated and costumed.

Bongo Herbert (Ward Fowler), Tuesday, 7 February 2017 11:50 (three years ago) link

There's lots of Hong Kong films but trying to think of some special in this regard.
Same with peplum/sword & sandals and medieval films. Indian films are a complete blind spot for me.

These are overwhelmingly long but a quick skim might refresh memories.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_historical_period_drama_films_and_series
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_period_drama_films_set_in_Asia

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 7 February 2017 13:02 (three years ago) link

I think McCabe & Mrs. Miller is great looking but my definition of 'great looking' may differ from others'.

Transformed From The Norm By The Nuclear Goop (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 7 February 2017 13:07 (three years ago) link

Re: Indian Film

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLASLzQhOqQ

Frederik B, Tuesday, 7 February 2017 13:13 (three years ago) link

The Virgin Suicides.

I'm only being partly silly--even the original post says "it can be fantasy or even contemporary with the setting/clothes appeal of a historical film." A great-looking and meticulous recreation of the '70s is just as valid to me as Barry Lyndon (which, yes, looks amazing).

― clemenza, Monday, February 6, 2017 6:51 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Same w/Spielberg's Munich.

Lauren Schumer Donor (Phil D.), Tuesday, 7 February 2017 13:37 (three years ago) link

La Nuit De Varennes
Fellini Casanova
The Founder
Silence
Pretty much any Mizoguchi set pre-20th century

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Tuesday, 7 February 2017 13:41 (three years ago) link

In the Mood for Love seems an easy Hong Kong choice

devvvine, Tuesday, 7 February 2017 13:42 (three years ago) link

The Leopard

See also Senso and Ludwig. I assume we could probably put Visconti's complete catalog under this heading?

Diana Fire (j.lu), Tuesday, 7 February 2017 13:47 (three years ago) link

Picnic at Hanging Rock is a great call up thread - watched it recently and it's one of the most evocative movies I've ever seen visually. Many scenes in the school are packed with almost occult symbolism (including lots of mirrors). A treat for the eyes really.

Everything Moves Towards The Sun (Ross), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 00:44 (three years ago) link

really love Monty Python & The Holy Grail's mucky, foggy medieval England.

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 00:55 (three years ago) link

The Duellists

https://iknowwhereimgoing.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/vlcsnap-2013-06-25-15h51m02s99.png

jmm, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 00:56 (three years ago) link

Duelists is good. But better if you fantasize about the young Keitel.

http://silverscreenmodes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Duellists-screen-2-672x372.jpg

my neurons made me do it (Sanpaku), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 00:59 (three years ago) link

The Conformist

Iago Galdston, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 01:57 (three years ago) link

Getting into fantasy again, Duke Of Burgundy and Morgiana have a really great look. Tale Of Tales too.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 02:00 (three years ago) link

Barry Lyndon is such a great choice not just cos it looks great and has good costume design, it was shot with natural light, meaning it more or less looks exactly how it would have looked before the electric light.

i like Amadeus's glam baroque style

https://media.giphy.com/media/z6CuYOlY3h2aA/giphy.gif

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 02:07 (three years ago) link

FrockFlicks, a stirringly opinionated site on these films, has a few choice words on Amadeus

Admittedly, I probably wouldn't have nearly as great an interest in period film if it didn't provide an excuse for heaving bosoms on film. Does this make me a bad person?

my neurons made me do it (Sanpaku), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 02:36 (three years ago) link

I'm not the greatest fan of Llewyn Davis, but as an evocation of time and place, its impeccable.

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 16:29 (three years ago) link

Flowers of Shanghai also. I mean, every Hou, but Flowers of Shanghai especially. Pure visual opium.

Frederik B, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 16:39 (three years ago) link

I think what Deleuze writes about Visconti in his chapter on crystal images is some of the best writing on historical cinema ever, btw. So evocative. The whole idea is hit and miss, I still don't really understand what Ophuls and Renoir has to do with anything, but borrow the book, and just read that couple of pages.

Frederik B, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 16:40 (three years ago) link

Was trying to think of a relatively recent film that gets the '50s or '60s right, and nothing immediately jumped to mind.

That Thing You Do! does some good 60s. (Shot by Tak Fujimoto.)

Lauren Schumer Donor (Phil D.), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 16:42 (three years ago) link

A Field in England

Number None, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 18:41 (three years ago) link

most of these films just make me wonder what the poor people of the time were doing/looked like

Field in England is gorgeous

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 18:43 (three years ago) link

(specifically referring to European elite costume dramas listed)

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 18:44 (three years ago) link

A Serious Man evokes a very different '60s feel too

Number None, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 18:45 (three years ago) link

to Llewyn Davis I mean

Number None, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 18:46 (three years ago) link

A Serious Man evokes a very different '60s feel too

They filmed scenes in my (downscale) neighborhood grocery as it hadn't been updated since the 60s.

by the light of the burning Citroën, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 18:48 (three years ago) link

Berlin Alexanderplatz

devvvine, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 18:48 (three years ago) link

another Kubrick: Paths of Glory

perfectly captures an era still caught between 19th & 20th centuries

Dominique, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 18:56 (three years ago) link

Les Enfants du Paradis
Lola Montes
The Scarlet Empress
Forever Amber maybe?

MrDasher, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 19:06 (three years ago) link

loads of Ken Russell films, esp The Devils, Lisztomania + Savage Messiah

soref, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 19:37 (three years ago) link

A Room With a View

and, I assume but haven't seen, other Merchant-Ivory films

scattered, smothered, covered, diced and chunked (WilliamC), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 19:44 (three years ago) link

Partie De Campagne

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 20:21 (three years ago) link

Pialat's "Van Gogh"!

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 20:22 (three years ago) link

(I can watch that one over and over)

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 20:22 (three years ago) link

I never saw that one - I watched the Altman Van Gogh which came out roughly at the same time. Might have to check that one out.

calzino, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 21:07 (three years ago) link

Is Altman's Van Gogh flick worth a look? The biopic is generally my least favourite film genre but, although it directly preceded The Player (officially his big 90s comeback, after a decade spent in the wilderness), I do remember it getting a good deal of praise at the time.

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 23:28 (three years ago) link

I liked it a lot at the time. The Gauguin character is probably more spot on than Roth's Van Gogh. But it still seemed quite moving at the time. It's more about his caring brother's essential patronage and his mental illness than the overwrought genius stuff.

calzino, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 23:57 (three years ago) link

I lied it a lot also. I don't think it looked all that good though. I supposed it was doing s now looks like then thing.

Heavy Doors (jed_), Thursday, 9 February 2017 01:30 (three years ago) link

The Altman is good but Pialat's is on a whole 'nother level.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Thursday, 9 February 2017 05:12 (three years ago) link

Pialat's Van Gogh is fantastic - and when Jacques Dutronc puts on a hat in the film, he looks a lot like Jandek!

Bongo Herbert (Ward Fowler), Thursday, 9 February 2017 11:14 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

I watched most of The Leopard last night. You all were right, it is stunning.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/7f/f7/94/7ff794f6d6ca61c5d0941286a1c283ff.jpg

jmm, Sunday, 26 February 2017 15:08 (three years ago) link

you don't do multiple sittings for a Leopard viewing :(

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 26 February 2017 15:16 (three years ago) link

I saw The Leopard projected once with an awkwardly placed 'intermission' enforced by the venue dividing up that long dialog scene w/Lancaster and his friend up in the hills.

to fly across the city and find Aerosmith's car (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 26 February 2017 20:42 (three years ago) link

It was 1 am, I couldn't keep going. Finished now though. What a great film. The ball scene is just perfect.

jmm, Sunday, 26 February 2017 21:24 (three years ago) link

Larrain's "NO"

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Sunday, 26 February 2017 23:01 (three years ago) link

No

Frederik B, Monday, 27 February 2017 00:43 (three years ago) link

No pun intended. But it looks like crappy video shit. By design, and I like the film, and adore the director more and more, but it doesn't look 'good'...

Frederik B, Monday, 27 February 2017 00:44 (three years ago) link

Has anybody seen S. Bondarchuk's "War&Peace" ?
It's supposed to be a 7h (!) masterpiece.

AlXTC from Paris, Monday, 27 February 2017 09:08 (three years ago) link

War & Peace was a state propaganda project. In the battle of Borodino, some 100,000 Soviet soldiers from near Moscow garrisons were lent to the production, so all of those moving masses in the distant background are Soviet battalions doing parade drills. The Russian MoD hosts [this sequence](http://eng.mil.ru/en/multimedia/video/films/more.htm?id=2045@morfVideoAudioFile) on their website.

However, Bondarchuk is fascinated with goofy/distracting camera angles (eg, at Borodino, an overhead shot taken on a 300 m zip-line traversing the melee at the Raevsky redoubt), and the editing is fairly jarring/abyssmal in court dialogue scenes. Acting is also overwrought/theatrical rather that cinematic. So while I recommend everyone see it at least once, practically obligatory for anyone interested in the Napoleonic Wars, I wouldn't say its great looking.

президентских компромат (Sanpaku), Monday, 27 February 2017 17:37 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

Anyone seen the German film Paula from last year?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 25 May 2017 08:51 (three years ago) link

Frederik B wrong re: "NO". It's shot on crappy video hence the "crappy video shit" look but it captures the look of an early '80s Latin America (in this instance Argentina) perfectly. Having spent a lot of time in early '80s Colombia I can vouch for this.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Thursday, 25 May 2017 12:21 (three years ago) link

Polanski's Tess

― Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Monday, February 6, 2017 4:28 PM (three months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yes.

It's always (sunny successor), Friday, 26 May 2017 15:31 (three years ago) link

NO takes place neither in Argentina nor in the early eighties...

Frederik B, Friday, 26 May 2017 16:32 (three years ago) link

Sorry. Chile, late '80s. A massive difference. You win.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Friday, 26 May 2017 16:39 (three years ago) link

A massive difference.

Well, yeah...

Anyways, my point was just that it's not particularly supposed to be what I'd call 'great looking'. As I said, I like the film, and I adore the crappy video look.

Frederik B, Friday, 26 May 2017 17:26 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

The Banquet/Legend Of The Black Scorpion

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 9 July 2017 17:22 (three years ago) link

Aguirre: The Wrath of God definitely has that "immersed in a genuinely remote world" feel mentioned upthread.

Hideous Lump, Sunday, 9 July 2017 23:28 (three years ago) link

Yes! I once remember hearing a quote from Kubrick second-hand (so I dunno if its legit, and I certainly ain't quoting it properly) about how with Barry Lyndon he wanted to make a period piece that was so accurate that watching it was like visiting an alien planet. As much as I love BL, I think Aguirre achieves that more effectively than any film I've ever seen.

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Monday, 10 July 2017 03:29 (three years ago) link

Aguirre is a minor miracle, and no one involved ever topped it.

Also...

Campion's Bright Star is very pretty.
http://images3.static-bluray.com/reviews/2857_5_large.jpg

полезные дурак (Sanpaku), Monday, 10 July 2017 03:37 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Ebiri on Bondarchuk's War and Peace, referenced above. I really can't find the time to see it at Lincoln Center, hoping I'll get to see it at home later this year.

https://www.vulture.com/2019/02/the-wild-story-behind-sergei-bondarchuks-epic-war-and-peace.html

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 20 February 2019 16:45 (one year ago) link

The Favourite
Mr Turner

glumdalclitch, Wednesday, 20 February 2019 16:47 (one year ago) link

I haven't seen The Favourite or Farewell My Queen but I assumed the latter was a new film. Maybe it just got a boost from the association.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 2 March 2019 10:17 (one year ago) link

Leigh's new one, "Peterloo", great looking as well but not half the film "Mr Turner" was. As I was watching I wished he would just make a killer William Blake biopic - "Peterloo" captures the look and feel of Blake's England.

Carly Jae Vespen (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 2 March 2019 13:41 (one year ago) link

"Rembrandt Fecit"
"Goya In Bordeaux"

Carly Jae Vespen (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 2 March 2019 13:43 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

Angelique series from the 60s starring Michele Mercier - classic or dud?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 19 July 2019 21:24 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Loved Portrait Of A Lady On Fire last night, especially as I've been a bit worried by how so many films look recently, this gives me a bit of hope.

I'm sure I've seen something else in the past year, maybe The Lighthouse?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 16 October 2020 19:37 (two weeks ago) link


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