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Bags in film: The Spirit of Adventure.

11/26/2012 08:24:00 pm

The Sheltering Sky- Bernardo Bertolucci

Pans Labyrinth- Guillermo Del Toro

Moonrise Kingdom- Wes Anderson

The Darjeeling Limited- Wes Anderson.

Costume plays such an important part in films, a character can be given meaning by their attire, but what of a character's bag? It is something I have been thinking about, as I love the subtleties of what a person may (or may not) carry and how bags are used in film to enrich and embellish the the story.

The defining film for me, in relation to bags, is Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited. Not only are the Monogrammed Louis Vuitton pieces OFF THE SCALE in terms of desirability, but they perfectly illustrate the wonderfully self involved nature of the brothers and their detachment from reality. Whilst the hand painted animals reflect the adventure they also allude to the childlike nature of the characters, something ever present in Andersons's films.

Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson's latest, continues the obsession with luggage and all things retro. Could there really be a better satchel than the wicker basket carried by Suzy, with the prized contents ...her cat!

One of my favourite films is Del Toro's Pans Labyrinth. The bag used by the main character, Ofelia, is not of any great note compared to Wes Anderson's carefully sourced and styled pieces, but the fact that the bag in question is a satchel, tells us so much about the character. The bag is robust and hardwaring, suited to Ofelia's imminent and dangerous adventure. With the thick, leather cross body strap the bag is fit for purpose; Ofelia can be hands free, ready for anything thrown at her on her journey.

This post focuses on bags that enable journeys. I guess this is true of all bags. Our bags contain possessions and tools that we need, or want, on our meetings with the outside world!

In Bertolucci's The Sheltering the Sky, a married couple from New York travel to Morroco. The main protaganist, Kit has a wardrobe to die for,  of cool and minimal cotton. In the above images she travels through the desert and I love the contrast of the her neat Western outfits with the North African berber clothing. The leather panniers, slung across the camel, are beautiful in their dishevilled and sun bleached layers and the obvious handiwork and fringing are unmistakable of that part of the world. In contrast to Kit's loosely tailored garments I love that they are slouchy, bulbous and without structure. Unprecious in their appearance they still carry objects of importance.

I would love to make this a repeat feature on the blog. If anyone would like to share any beautiful, or significant bags from film please do so....


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