'Of course chairs are important in cinema,' you're probably thinking. 'All the characters would get knackered from standing all the time and eventually fall over, ruining all the classics we've ever loved.'
You're correct, but this isn't the point - the point is that chairs in cinema have been taken for granted for too long now, regarded as props and mere set design.
Well one man setting us straight on this is Vimeo maestro Tony Zhou, whose latest visual guide to cinema (below) shows us just how big an impact these pieces of furniture can have on character, scene, and the movie itself.
Here are his best points:
A chair can symbolise a bright and clean interior. Example: 2001: A Space Odyssey
And also interiors a little more rundown. Example: Solaris
A chair can show how characters have very little money. Example: Raising Arizona
Or lots of it. Example: Raising Arizona
And what about thrones? Well these are often filmed from above to signify hierarchy. Example: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
While other seats of power can even represent the psychology of a person through style. Example: Zoolander
Chairs can also mirror the physical appearance of a person - a trick regularly used in cartoons. Example: Up
And, perhaps most intriguing of all, chairs can even compliment a character's physical expression on screen. Just like in the Godfather Part II when Fredo attempts to sit up straight and proclaim that he’s not the sap his brother believes, only his slunk back chair doesn’t let him. The more he fidgets the more powerless he looks.
Now check out the rest on the brilliant video below.