In the beginning of the film, The Illusionist, there is a flashback with narration. It is of the main character childhood meeting with his love. It is viewed comparably to a reel of film as an old movie being played. It consists of earthy tones to create a setting of the 20th century that the storyline depicts. The edge of the screen is rather dark and somewhat out of focus.
The film mostly uses close-up shots on the characters Edward Norton and Jessica Biel. The close-up magnifies the size of an object and it tends to elevate the importance of things, often suggesting a symbolic significance. Those two characters share the bond of love throughout the film.
The lighting used for the film is most period fitting. During outdoor scenes most natural lighting is used, or depicted. Indoor scenes during the day have all the light coming in through a window, no lanterns or candles. The indoor scenes during nighttime shots most light is angled on the face, always brighter on one side and shadowed across the other, lanterns and candles used for lighting the rooms. Most of the indoor scenes at night with Norton and Biel consist mostly of only light on their faces, the rest of the scene is dark.
I think the soft lighting of the two characters along with the camera angles of the faces only show that their part of the storyline is the most important. As the audience views them onscreen they are to feel sympathetic for their long-lasting and undying love for each other. While the lighting is not overpowering it creates the romantic setting needed for the theme of the film.
To relate these elements to meaning beyond the film, I guess would have to be that it is portraying love and romance as a very intimate gesture or feeling. (As it should be, naturally) I think films help us to view the world around us differently; we see things in films artistically and want to view our own intimate moments artistically as well.
Why do we sometimes believe our lives to be a “scene from a movie”?