Art direction should set the script in visual terms, supporting the intention and the emotional load of the characters through esthetic elements like the scenography and atmosphere, the props, the make-up and the wardrobe.
The art director should take distance from personal taste: objectivity is very important. While having a broad knowledge in art and history, the art director analyzes and defines some of the following elements:
Who killed Palomino Molero?
This project was created with the help of Diana Aldana & David Chicaeme,
I thank them for their creative minds and skilled hands.
Brief: Contest to develop the art direction of a free adaptation of the novel “Who killed Palomino Molero?” written by Mario Vargas Llosa. An art direction manual and two scaled models where presented within the project for the audiovisual production.
Our frame was the coastal city of Buenaventura, Colombia in the 50’s.
We tried to understand and take over the world of Buenaventura with its historic, esthetic and artistic load.
Starting with an introspective reading of the play we could suggest visual languages for the materialization of concepts, metaphors and esthetic atmospheres with theatrical effects.
Historic and political context
During the decade of 1950 Buenaventura turned into the most important harbor on the pacific coastline. It was significant for the country’s commerce, but also home for some of the first major naval operations in drug traffic. The context of the art direction takes in political occurrences that where decisive to the culture of the Valle del Cauca region. Monsignor Gerardo Valencia Cano established the social doctrine of the Catholic Church in that territory, supported by military efforts of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. A city controlled by the army and the church.
Our visual universe:
Syncretism, magic y destiny
The reality of this story spills over the Pacific Ocean, at the peak of a village pictured with cultural traditions segregated by religiousness. A strong syncretism of cultures between Catholicism and Santería develop different ways of reading and interpreting the supernatural forces. This way faith is presented and moral is constructed into the content of actions. The atmospheres and the attitudes of the stage break the rim with energy of magic realism. The content is broken down by a vibrating force of symbols that manifest in sparks of fiction, which give origin to a cultural symbiosis in the attitude of the protagonists and in the set up of the geography.
Characters that contrast different life styles, values and ways to apprehend religion, are trapped in a mystical knowledge that dissolves the reality of a town charged with tradition. Buenaventura, still at the essence, but in a different legitimacy. Strong contrast, diverse architectures, isolated moments, luminous and rich spaces, saturations, dilapidated and lugubrious corners, will make their way between the characters that transit around in their costumes and personalities.
The art direction manual
I will show some pages of the art direction manual (very few because it is really long). This manual contains the final moodboards with the instructions for every aspect of the project.
The manual starts by making emphasis in the visualization of the characters. Decisions that strengthen the non-verbal communication of aspects like clothing, make-up and esthetic qualities help in the creation of archetypes.
Further on the manual all of the architectures are shown. I will show only the relevant ones that were prototyped: The home of Asunta Molero and the Lighthouse.
Home of Asunta Molero
The house of Asunta Molero is loaded with emotions, metaphors, archetypes and stereotypes related to the character.
The model was made in a 1:10 scale.
The Lighthouse is a remote place that keeps an atmosphere of its own. It has a great emotional burden: a different place that makes part of the story.
The model was made in a 1:20 scale.