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“Emma.” and How to Make Your Movie a Tasty Treat

“I told all my departments,” explains “Emma.” director Autumn de Wilde, “the colors need to feel edible.”

 

Emma. director “Autumn De Wilde likes to tell stories with color,” reports Sarah Larson. “The film opens in a hothouse bursting with orange and pink flowers; Mrs. Goddard’s boarding-school girls move in a flock, à la Madeline or The Handmaid’s Tale, wearing red capes and pale bonnets; the pink-and-green décor of Hartfield, Emma’s home, evokes a layer cake frosted with buttercream.

“I wanted it to be like a pastry shop,” de Wilde tells Larson. “I told all my departments, ‘The colors need to feel edible.’” To read the full article, click here.

De Wilde, writes David Sims, is a “smart choice to recreate Austen’s fictional town of Highbury, the bucolic community that Emma Woodhouse (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) presides over like a gossipy, petty dictator. It’s a world where proper dress and good manners are paramount, where characters announce their entire personalities just by walking into a room, and where cutting insults and deeply personal observations can nestle within the most aimless small talk.

“The setting de Wilde conjures is therefore appropriately delicate and exacting,” Sims continues. “It looks like a bespoke wedding cake, a series of fine estates in the rolling English countryside, each bursting with manicured rooms painted in different pastel shades.” To read the full article, click here.

The director, writes David Erlich, shoots “Emma. like a ballet that’s set on the highest tier of a wedding cake and cast entirely with life-sized toppers; her tilt-shift finale rounds out the rare movie that you can actually taste.” To read the full article, click here.

Read more: Emma. Cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt Talks Looks and Workflow

“Working with cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt and production designer Kave Quinn, she adorns the film’s lavish estates with pastel colors and abundant sunshine,” adds Tim Grierson, “hinting early on that Emma’s happy ending will never be in doubt.” To read the full article, click here.

“Even if de Wilde’s style-forward approach emphasizes the world of Highbury over its inhabitants—have we talked about the incredible town haberdashery, or the Greek chorus of tittering schoolgirls who add a whole new plane to the action whenever they glide through the background?—her actors make it fun to watch their characters ascertain and assert their true worth,” Erlich continues. “Silly as it can be in these surroundings, few among us take anything more seriously; the cleverest moments in Emma. make this fondant of a film feel less like a guilty pleasure than a mirthful kind of vibe check. (Watch how Wilde shoots Emma and George in shallow focus so that these self-obsessed socialites blend into the drama of the priceless oil portraits that hang on the walls behind them).” To read the full article, click here.

“The world’s on fire,” admits de Wilde, “so I think we need a couple hours off and then we can go back to fighting.” To read the full interview, click here.

Read more: Emma. Takes Place in a Bright Georgian Dollhouse

 

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