Speaking the same Language

The first week of the New Year is over and we are warming up nicely on the pre-production of The Fitzroy. At the moment we are working up through the gears and just getting back up to speed after the festive holidays.

One of those gears is starting initial conversations about the cinematography and shooting style for the film.

Now apart from the short film – Choke Mate – that we made during the campaign, I haven’t worked with Ciro, our Director of Photography, before. This is exciting but also presents a problem. Over the next few months we will have many conversations and make plans about The Fitzroy, but first we need to get on the same page and ‘speak the same language’.

And this, at least to my mind, means having a common bank of films to reference on.IMG_20130109_155009

Over the Christmas period I compiled a list of films that I felt would be beneficial for us both to watch/re-watch.

Now these films aren’t necessarily direct inspiration for The Fitzroy, you can see those inspirations in these previous blogs.

Inspirations and References Part 1 (Visuals)

Part 2 (Comedy)

Part 3 (Music)

Nor do we want The Fitzroy to copy the cinematography. It is more a case of these films containing elements that we might want to cherry pick, learn from and fold into The Fitzroy’s visual identity.

For example, we might study how colour is used to convey mood and emotion in The Red Shoes. Or how The Grinch uses Dutch (wonky) angles. Or how Terry Gilliam uses a wide-angle lens to help convey the weirdness of his characters. Or the strong compositions of Ashes and Diamonds and how these can add power and strength to characters.

As we want to share as much with you about the production as possible, here is a list of the films we are referencing and watching. Be warned it is quite long!


  • Brazil
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • The Brothers Grimm
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • The Fisher King
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  • Time Bandits
  • Jabberwocky
  • A matter of Life and Death
  • Black Narcissus
  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
  • The Red Shoes
  • Amelié
  • The City of Lost Children
  • Delicatessen
  • Mic-Macs
  • Raising Arizona
  • Barton Fink
  • The Hudsucker Proxy
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • The Bedsitting Room
  • The Knack and How to Get It
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • Help
  • Black Cat White Cat
  • Underground
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Hot Fuzz
  • The Grinch
  • Billy Elliot
  • Signs
  • Breathless
  • Ashes and Diamonds
  • It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
  • Crimes of Passion
  • The Devils
  • The Frighteners
  • Gremlins
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • The Magical Mystery Tour
  • Noirs … Modern and classics – especially British
  • Submarine films??

Like I say we don’t necessarily want to emulate these films, the reason for watching them is so we have common reference points.

It’s really early days and there is a lot we need to discuss both in terms of ‘artistic vision’ and the practicalities of the shoot, which will have an impact on how we end up filming The Fitzroy.

I’ll be posting more updates as we develop the visual style but thought you’d be interested in some of our references and hopefully we are all speaking the same language now.

If you have any suggestions that you think might be worth a watch, please let me know in the comments. Particularly if it is British Noir!


11 thoughts on “Speaking the same Language

  1. Hello chaps, I think I can help with British Noir as it is an area I love. Try: The Third Man, It Always Rains on a Sunday, The Ladykillers, Dead of Night, The Small Back Room, Obsession, Oliver Twist (possibly), Brighton Rock, Odd Man Out (definitely), Hell is a City, Candlelight in Algeria, Accident, Victim, The Good Die Young (possibly), Repulsion……there’s plenty, but if you need more, let me know.

    Submarine films: Das Boot, Above Us The Waves, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. There is an excellent German U-Boat film set in WW2, I’ve temporarily forgotten the name, will let you know.


      • Very much so! I’m a big fan of the actor Robert Newton (Bill Sykes) and he also has major leads in both Obsession and Odd Man Out.

        I also thought of Strangers on a Train afterwards when leaving the British box…although, it is Hitchcock. Plus if you want to see a film that has a different take on The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus(colour wise) try Scott of the Antarctic (staring John Mills). It’s white yes, but white like you’ve never seen white before and because it is soooo white the other colours are heightened too.

      • You may be getting annoyed with me now…but 3 more sub films came to mind. The Silver Fleet, We Dive at Dawn and Run Silent, Run Deep. Still can’t remember the german one.

      • Not at all! Keep them coming. Like I say would nether have thought of Olvier!

        I need to check out Scott of the Antarctic. I’m right in thinking it was DOP’d by Jack Cardiff as well?

  2. I love Black Cat White Cat, and Shaun of the Dead is hilarious.

    It’s not British Noir but I recommend Canadian films waydowntown and Wilby Wonderful.

  3. Still loving the inclusion of “The Fisher King”. Starting to think I was the only one who’d eve heard of it.

    Two more perhaps worth considering.

    ~ “Clue” is quite silly, but it is hilarious…still. How do you go wrong with Tim Curry as a butler?

    ~ “Following” is quite the British noir by my personal favorite, Christopher Nolan. Worth a look if for nothing else a fantastic story.

    Hope this helps,

    Karen (KxTwo on Twitter)

    • Thanks Karen,

      Yeah The Fisher king has it all – funny and moving.

      I’ve never seen Clue but will check it out.

      Speaking of Nolan did you ever see his short film ‘doodlebug’ – I’m not sure if it was his first short?

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