I believe the movies you watch as a child and as a teenager often leave an indelible mark on your memory and on your cinema tastes as an adult. This is surely my case: the first memories I have of watching a movie at the cinema are linked to A Hard Day’s Night by Richard Lester (I was 5), to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (I was 12) and to David Lynch’s Wild at Heart (I was 17). I started to regularly attend a cinema when I was 14, so these are not the only movies I remember vividly, but are surely those who impressed me most. I strangely have no memories of Disney movies, but I perfectly remember the impact the twisted love story by Lynch had on my 17-year-old prudish self. It shocked me, as if I had seen an alien, because it was different from anything I had watched so far. After many years, I recently had the chance to watch it again: the shock is obviously gone, but the feeling you’re watching a unique film is still there. I love everything about it, which is the reason why it’s still among my favourite movies ever. All the bizarre, eccentric, wicked, violent and ruthless Lynch aesthetic is shown at its best, reaching its peak of perfection in the star-crossed lovers (Sailor Ripley and Lula Pace, respectively Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern) and in Marietta Fortune, Lula’s vengeful mother (the actress who played the role is Diane Ladd, Laura Dern’s mother in real life).
Mother and daughter are very different – at a certain point of the narration they’re actually enemies – but there’s a very strong bond between them. From a visual point of view you can tell there’s a connection between them: Lula is Marietta’s younger and wilder version. This physical similarity is surely one of the reason why David Lynch casted both Ladd and Dern. Both of them are natural blondes, with the help of some hydrogen peroxide, and love wearing red lipstick. Lula is more consistent in her make-up choices, because she opts for the classic red lips/red nails combo most of the time, while Marietta likes wearing something different from time to time (see the hot pink nail polish on her talons in the screencap above).
As an avid tv show watcher I usually focus on some elements which make me decide if a tv show is worth my time or not. After the plot and the characters (and their style sometimes) there are the opening credits, a sort of business card of the show itself. I hate when there are no opening credits and I highly enjoy them when they’re good. This is the case of the credits of Pretty Little Liars and Ripper Street, for example: they beautifully introduce each episode re-working the main theme of the show and its imagery. I’ve recently binge-watched the first season of the new it show – Jenji Kohan’s Orange Is the New Black, based on a novel by Piper Kerman – and its opening credits have immediately entered my favourite list. Regina Spektor wrote and sang the theme You’ve Got Time (whose lyrics directly refer to the story told by the show), while the visuals were designed by Thomas Cobb Group, referencing yet again to the show in a different way.
One of the peaks of Orange Is the New Black is the diversity of the stories told and of its protagonists, who not only have different backgrounds, levels of education, ethnicities and differ from a physical point of view, too. None of the actresses acting in the show are in the opening credits , but Kohan wanted to keep a high level of authenticity nonetheless. For this reason, all the women portrayed by Michael Trim and Thomas Cobb in New York and Los Angeles were previously incarcerated, just like the protagonists of the show. Writing a show without taking a dip into the wide sea of stereotypes is very hard but Kohan did her best to steer clear from it, and this approach is mirrored by the credits, too. Those we see (their eyes and mouths, to be precise) are not the classic airbrushed women we usually see on tv but are portrayed in all their flaws – wrinkles, undereye bags, skin marks, moles, acne scars and clogged pores. God knows if we need such a plausible portrayal of women on tv!
As a visually-obsessed blogger, it’s easy to see why the opening credits have had such an appeal on me. The point is that I’m a make-up addict, too, so I screencapped all the sequence and kept some shots only. The concept behind the credits is interesting and thoroughly relevant, but I’m a vain girl, so here is a breakdown of all the shots portraying a woman sporting black eyeliner, mascara or eyepencil .