As a narrative element, a motif can be a powerful tool that supports the main story in a movie. It can come in many forms, such as a physical object, sound design, music, colors, dialogue line, or a symbol. A rose may represent love. A shattered glass usually emphasizes the suspense or foreshadows terrible news.
Many filmmakers experiment with them in their own way, trying to make their vision appear stronger to the viewers. A great example is the use of oranges in Godfather, where the oranges are visible on the screen when somebody is about to be killed. There are also more popular motifs that almost have to be used in a movie from a specific genre or the scenes that take place in particular locations.
Representing London and New York
A good portion of American-made movies is set in New York City. Often we can marvel at unique locations around the famous streets, such as when watching Woody Allen’s productions. One of the commonly recognized objects that we instantly associate with NY is the characteristic yellow cab.
Memorable scenes featuring the iconic vehicles come from the Taxi Driver. A beautiful aerial shot over the series of yellow cars from Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous also comes to mind, as well as Joker’s rampage throughout NYC-inspired Gotham City.
On the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean, taxis do not look especially remarkable. But it doesn’t mean nothing is standing out from the crowd. On the contrary, London’s public transportation system catches the eye with its big red double-decker buses. I’m sure we’ll be able to spot one or two in almost every Brit-friendly motion picture.
Las Vegas lights
Speaking of distinctive places that everybody knows, Nevada’s particular location awakens a familiar feeling in every movie fan. The bright and shiny city of Las Vegas undoubtedly absorbs all the attention when featured on the screen. The colorful neon lights can serve multiple purposes in a film, depending on whether it’s a serious drama like Leaving Las Vegas or a light comedy like The Hangover.
Various casino games can also make an excellent movie motif or even the whole theme. Nowadays, looking for the best online casinos is not too hard. There are many opportunities to play, and the popularity of the games makes people appreciate those moments on the big screen, whether it is a James Bond type spinning a roulette wheel or a bunch of friends having a night out.
The mysterious Orient
A dragon is one of the most important symbols in Chinese culture. It represents strength and power, as well as good fortune. A movie lover should associate the dragon with China, in one form or the other. There are usually little things on locations or people’s appearance, such as jewelry or decorations.
The big ones can often be spotted during festivities and special occasions. There is one in the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and another in the form of a huge golden dragon statue in Van Damme’s movie The Quest.
Continuing with the Asian theme, let’s move to nearby Japan. The country may be familiar to us for many reasons. One of them could be its highly developed cities filled with modern technological solutions and almost futuristic architecture. All of that makes for the perfect scenery in sci-fi movies. But it also pairs well with a deeply human side of a story, like in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation.