All films are designed. Everything that appears on the screen has been imagined by a set or costume designer, crafted or purchased by skilled professionals and placed there by a set or costume dresser. In short, everything you see in film is styled. It is so easy to forget this when it is captivatingly crafted into an exciting story that draws you in.
There are few opportunities to examine this fact as pointed as the Bond franchise. Across the decades, 23 movies have created an archive of costumes, cars, gadgets and fantastical locations that exists nowhere else on film. And TIFF Bell Lightbox continues its run of exciting and insightful exhibitions by bringing Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style to Toronto film lovers.
When Casino Royale exploded onto the screen in 2006 in grand parkour style, we were met with a new, thuggish James Bond; a man unafraid of violence, but seething with intelligence and style. Certainly, this is the James Bond we need today, but the mythos of Bond has existed for 50 years. Watching the Bond movies you can not only date them through script style and plot points, but through their unique ability to reflect the time in which they were made, while affecting a timeless quality that allows them to continue to stand out as iconically styled films to this day.
Walking through the exhibition, it is difficult to separate these famously iconic objects from their style. The exhibition was curated by UK’s prestigious Barbican Centre and guest-curated by fashion historian Bronwyn Cosgrave and Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming. TIFF worked closely with all three to bring selections from the Barbican’s exhibition to Toronto to truly showcase all the Bond style has to offer.
And showcase it does. With such classic imagery as the “golden gun”, Q’s gadgets, a submarine car, and, of course, the casino, the exhibition has been well crafted to help you move past your initial excitement over being in the presence of the object itself and truly examine its design.
Also included are sublime costumes, maquettes, production drawings to round out the experience of the design process, allowing you to truly understand what goes into crafting Bond’s world.
Let’s face it. It’s hard to get past James Bond’s cool, but that’s what Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style is asking you to do. The curators have extended an invitation to get past the cool and examine why a character would carry a golden gun, or wear a specific tuxedo, or have a plated inhaler. James Bond, his world and his style have become ubiquitous in our collective culture, from items we wear to gadgets we use to comedies we love, and such ubiquity demands examination.
Whether you have seen the occasional Bond movie and are mildly interested, or you have steeped your passion for the franchise in the mythos of Bond, this exhibition looks at the ways in which style and movies can be created simultaneously.
You can examine your own response to that from now until January 30, 2013 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. You can purchase tickets at the TIFF box office (in person, by phone or online). It is strongly suggested that you purchase two sets of tickets immediately, since you will definitely want to see this twice.
Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style Gallery
Photography courtesy of Christina Woerns Photography.
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