In Anatomy of a Scene, we ask directors to reveal the secrets that go into creating key scenes in their films. Watch new episodes of the series on Friday. You can too Watch our collection of over 150 videos on YouTube And Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Two women applying makeup in front of a mirror.
In the hands of some directors and performers, a moment like this might seem routine. But when the director is the critically acclaimed Todd Haynes, and the performers are Oscar winners Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman, this kind of scene takes on layers of meaning.
The moment occurs in “May December” (Streaming on NetflixThe film revolves around actress Elizabeth Berry (Natalie Portman), who most recently played Gracie Atherton Yeo (Julianne Moore), a woman who rose to fame more than two decades ago in a seventh-grade sex scandal, whom she will eventually marry. .
Elizabeth went to Savannah to spend time with Gracie and her family and to study for her part. In this scene, Gracie shares her makeup routine as the two stand in front of the mirror. It is one of several sequences in the film that involve mirrors and long shots.
In an interview discussing those decisions, Hines said he wanted to “allow the camera to catch in and observe what’s going on in these people’s lives, and this actress coming into their lives, breaking down the security and protection.” “The castle walls they’ve built around this family since that scandal happened.”
Hines said that although most scenes with Elizabeth depict her as the detective, this is one of the few times that Gracie asks Elizabeth questions.
With the mirrors and the combination of characters in this shot, Hines cited Ingmar Bergman’s “character” as an influence. He praised the performers for their success.
“A shot like this is a great idea, but it won’t work unless you have Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman.” He said.
“Travel junkie. Coffee lover. Incurable social media evangelist. Zombie maven.”