Arts and Crafts on Film: A DIY Hall of Fame

Film is a big-budget industry, but sometimes even multi-million-dollar projects can use a dose of DIY ingenuity. Usually featured in movies where fantasy or dreams play a major role, arts and crafts can introduce surrealism into a narrative and lighten even the darkest of tales through cut-paper sets, felt sculptures, and cardboard cities. While some directors get their craft on through creative characters that fashion homemade treasures of their own, others incorporate it into their production design. Check out some of our favorite films that boast an arts-and-crafts aesthetic, from such auteurs as Michel Gondry, Miranda July, Spike Jonze, and Wes Anderson, after the jump.

The Science of Sleep

From the set design to the characters’ extracurricular activities, Michel Gondry’s masterpiece is chock full of arts and crafts. Throughout the film — which follows graphic designer Stéphane Miroux as he tries to gain the affection of his mother’s neighbor, while constantly reverting back to his imagination and dreams — we see trains, faux TV sets, and automobiles fashioned out of cardboard, a pop-up book-style city, whimsical sculptures that come to life, and unique inventions like a one-second time machine. Gondry also recruited artist Lauri Faggioni to mastermind some of the film’s most recognizable soft sculptures, including Golden the Pony Boy and the Forest Inside the Boat.