Friday, May 3, 2013

'Gatsby' film posters an intriguing mélange of symbols and style

by Derek Spencer

The new film adaptation of The Great Gatsby drops just one week from today! Of course, we don't yet know what director Baz Lurhmann has done with the film, but we do have some hints as to the visual direction thanks to Esther Zuckerman at The Atlantic:

The Atlantic: "Is the 'Great Gatsby' Movie Just Going to Be High-School English All Over Again?"

Now I'm no art scholar, so you might want to take the following with a grain of salt. Possibly even a full shaker. And hey, if I'm way off base, feel free to giggle at my mistakes — just tell me about them in the comments, okay?

Phew. Here goes.

Zuckerman notes the heavy symbolism in the first poster — the green light draws the eye immediately. Gatsby's eyes are very nearly the same color. DiCaprio-as-Gatsby looks serious, determined, making me wonder if the film will portray Gatsby more as a hard-nosed, ruthless gangster than as an idealistic romantic.

The second poster depicts Daisy in the midst of what appears to be a flower garden (no daisies included, thank goodness). I think this one might be based on a still from the film; it looks much more organic than the first. Her facial expression suggests to me a gentleness in her characterization, and the soft pastel colors of the plants reinforce the impression. Note the area of highest contrast: a dark space between the flowers and Daisy's face. This contrast pulls the viewer's attention straight to Daisy's eyes.

As Zuckerman notes, there's definitely some more fun with symbolism going on in poster three. What immediately hits me about this image is just how composed, how assured, how confident Myrtle Wilson looks. Do I detect the slightest whisper of a smirk, as though she were privy to a salacious secret?

I'm excited about the film, and I'm definitely going to catch it while it's in theaters. How about you?

Have a lovely weekend, and thanks for reading!

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