Where do you draw inspiration from? Nature, people, photography, or maybe movies? For a creative person, the latter is a great source of insights going from a character’s motivation, lifestyle and obstacles to a plot, shooting angle, length of frames, and visual effects.

For those who need a relaxing way to absorb inspiration, we’ve created the ultimate list of aesthetically pleasing movies. Their colour palettes, framing, stylistics, and artistic techniques will motivate you to create works and projects you will be proud of.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

There’s no doubt that the “Grand Budapest Hotel” by American director Wes Anderson is the most aesthetically pleasing movie shot in the span of five years. Pastel colours, sophisticated visual style, symmetrical shots, academic directing – all these things create an ambience of a vintage movie, always in line with Wes Anderson aesthetics.

For designers and photographers, this movie serves as a great example of how to create a completely different world with the help of composition and visual effects.

The Last Emperor (1987)

“The Last Emperor” is a must-see for everyone working with visuals. It is a movie with traditional oriental aesthetics: an abundance of elements and patterns, symmetry, grandeur, and dynamics. Within the oriental theme, colour palette plays no less a decisive role. For instance, prevailing red in Chinese culture and in general, symbolizes happiness and joy. This isn’t just a characteristic of “The Last Emperor” movie. Interestingly, when paired with yellow or gold, it stands for good luck and prestige, while black is a neutral colour. Thus, when creating designs or taking pictures in an oriental style, it is equally important to pay attention to shapes and colours with symbolism.

La La Land (2016)

For a dose of inspiration in the American dream aesthetics, check out  “La La Land”. Speaking of sound and visual effects, it is impossible to avoid spoilers, as Damien Chazelle, the director, has captured all the associations people usually have with Los Angeles. Songs like “City of Stars”, jazz clubs as a nostalgia for the past, the Hollywood Hills, young actors and singers, endless sun, and, finally, prevailing pink colour as a symbol of the big dream.  

Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

Since its release in 1961, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” was among the most aesthetically pleasing movies in history. It has defined that time with a particular aesthetic, with a special emphasis on fashion. Not only clothes and jewellery worn by Audrey Hepburn make the movie visually pleasant. The atmosphere of serenity and the close-up scenes will definitely inspire you if you’re working on a project in the spirit of ’60s.  

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Created in the best traditions of Stanley Kubrick’s aesthetics, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is a movie that introduces an art form is capable of communicating a message through composition.

Another distinctive feature is minimalism which just originated at the beginning of the 60’s. Black and white color palette, cold tones, and symmetry of geometrical shapes are timeless stylistics that have already become a sign of good taste. All in all, Stanley Kubrick’s aesthetics are exceptional and if you’re wondering how the director’s website would look like if he had one, check out our piece on 23 beautiful website designs from Awwwards.

The Neon Demon (2016)

The “Neon Demon” is definitely among those aesthetically pleasing movies that redefine the notion of beauty. Fluorescent colors and dark shades, frequent frame change, scenes of violence are the things that usually scare away the audience. Meanwhile, in the “Neon Demon”, the director uses techniques that make awful and horrifying things seem beautiful. This psychological thriller is evidence that despite the traditional attributes of beauty being ignored, it still brings visual joy, as contradicting as it may sound.  

Malena (2000)

Have you noticed how many photographers and film directors have tried to recreate that legendary scene with Monica Bellucci with a cigarette? Italian aesthetics with femme fatale as the main character deserve a separate chapter in the history of cinematography. Pastel colors, ancient architecture, and seaside communicate the aesthetics of wartime filled with pain.

Midnight in Paris (2011)

The aesthetics of Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” greatly stands out from the typical American movies shot in the second decade of the 21st century. It is a blend of surrealism and nostalgia with perfect artistry. Warm coloring and shots reminiscent of the paintings of the great world artists is a technique, the purpose of which is to leave an aftertaste and food for thought rather than make an immediate impression.

Marie Antoinette (2005)

If you’re into history, “Marie Antoinette” is a movie to draw inspiration from. Skilfully stylized from costumes, hair, and make-up to composition and camera techniques, it is visually beautiful indeed. It is also a case when plunging into accurate historical events is not the central part of this movie. The aesthetics are more about the visual transmission of a particular spirit, lifestyle and mindset – luxury, joy, and beauty.

Melancholia (2011)

In one of the interviews, a Danish film director Lars von Trier said that he might not like the movie he has created, as its aesthetics are very similar to classic American cinema. We can’t but agree that those slow motion, symmetrical, and polished up scenes are the features most people love about the pop cinematography. Lars von Trier took managed to translate a complex state of mind in this psychological drama film, capturing a contradicting beauty about a depressive episode.

If you’re in search for perfect aesthetics for a new project, these 10 aesthetically pleasing movies with different color palettes, stylistics, and visual effects will open up an entire pool of fresh ideas for you. For more color-related insights, continue reading these two articles:

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