Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rooms on Film: Cloud Atlas (Luisa Rey)

There are a ton of film sets I want to talk about lately and that's all I really want to talk about. It doesn't make for a balanced blog, but so what? Some months ago, I had the tremendous pleasure of seeing Cloud Atlas for the first time. It came out in 2012, starring Oscar Winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, and the promos were downright confusing. Never having heard of the (magnificent) novel, I just didn't know what to make of it. My loss! This movie is visually stunning and best viewed in the theater. The story - tighter and more romantic than the novel - is entrancing, resonant and powerful. From the 1850s to the very distant future, the cinematography, CGI and set design produce a dazzling array of scenes in the 1850s, 1930s, 1970s, 2000s and distant future. If you haven't seen it, or read the novel, run don't walk...

Now let's discuss the 1970s studio apartment of Luisa Rey...

In this story, the third incarnation of the hero demarked by a comet birthmark, Halle Berry plays the main character, a journalist at a cheesy "spy" rag in San Francisco. Fate conspires to give Luisa the inside scoop on a huge conspiracy story that greater powers do not want exposed. In between sleuthing, secret meetings and brushes with death, she drops by her humble abode to relax and visit with her precocious neighbor boy. 

Now, obviously not everyone is into retro decor, but one of the things that struck me about this apartment is that felt so authentic. Technically, I'm a child of the '80s but being born before 1975, I actually have a decent memory of the period. This set calls to mind a place my aunt had in Albany circa 1977. Much like the apartment in Carlito's Way, this one just speaks to me. 

Perhaps it's the details that make it feel so right:

luisa's folk-inspired clothing forerunners of today's 'boho-chic'
javier's clothes jibe with my memory - bell bottoms, turtlenecks and shoes (you couldn't just wear sneakers every day)
teeny black and white tv set, record player, stereo, transistor radio, vinyl albums...
So many people are reviving this look now, and not as cheaply as back in the day. But this character is living on a Workaday Jane's(TM) salary. Hence her compact abode which is furnished, but not overly so. From the front door you can pretty much take in the whole place. Kitchenette to the left, livingroom to the right, bedroom just beyond that and office on the far left. At least there's a balcony.

four rooms in one, even i might lose it in here
rattan mirror, of course
sculptured wooden lamps, moroccan side tables and thonet bentwood dining chairs (just like my aunt had)
a vague view above the kitchen counter, more open shelves
period bakeware and a stove mere feet from the bathroom
So much color + texture + pattern, albeit in a fairly earthy pallet. From the colorful patchwork quilt, to the rattan accents, to the Oriental rug on the wall and the corduroy sofa to the decorative reed and ceramic urns... But no curtains for actual privacy from the building across the street. Hmm...

period gems: a peacock chair and a bentwood dining chair - my aunt's were white

polaroids and an "electric" typewriter
And on the cinderblock wall, both the bedroom and the livingroom. The bed faces the desk, but the sofa faces the bookshelves which house the tiny tv, radio player, stereo and various media.

Of course, the daylight view is best, when you can see all the elements working together. The wall color matches the lampshades. the wallhanging and bedding coordinate...

the ever-popular push button phone (we had rotary dial until 1990)
so many textures: leather, cotton, wood, inlay, rattan, ceramic

Cozy, apartment living for the independent, young, career woman on the go!

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