La La Land is a film about dreams and ambitions. For both characters, Sebastian and Mia, there is a moment that the lighting made them look like they were on a stage. Each were in their own vulnerable moment. A single spotlight lit Sebastian as he played his piano with passion. It felt like he was yelling about the frustrations of chasing a dream that feels so close but was seemingly far away.
For Mia, it was an intimate audition. The lights go out and it’s just her and the camera. A single spotlight showing that she doesn’t care about who is watching her. As Mia sang about what it’s like to chase a dream, it felt like I was sharing an intimate moment with the character.
A single spotlight can create intimacy. Even old theater lighting can come into play when it comes to filming a scene. These two scenes reminded me just how important lighting is for a scene. The lack of light in a scene can invoke a feeling of understanding. Sometimes you don’t need four lights to make a moment happen. Sometimes you only need one.