Temperatures may be plummeting outside, but it’s warm inside. So enjoy the snow, sleet, and frigid winds, but recalling some memorable snowy scenes from your favorite Focus films. If you want to put on a scarf and stylish wool hat to watch them, why not. Be it rolling on a snowy beach, sliding about on icy rink, or training to be an assassin in sub-arctic temperatures, enjoy this wintery pleasures.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | A romp in the snow
As Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) desperately tries to hold on to his memories of Clementine (Kate Winslet) in Michel Gondry’s mind-blowing love story Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, his mind drifts to the place they met. Believing that Clementine went to the brain-scrubbing firm Lacuna to have her memories of him erased, Joel does the same, only to realize during the procedure that he can’t forget her. He remembers a snowy day on the beach with her before she disappears. Written as just a beach day, the weather dumped inches of wet snow on the beach they were set to shoot. So Gondry and his actors decided to improvise the scene, creating one of the film’s most delightful and memorable moments. The Victorian beach house they run towards, which is part of the Hamptons’ celebrated Georgica Association, became world famous from the film and recently sold for $24.3 million.
Anna Karenina | A fashionable ice rink
When Joe Wright took on adapting Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece about love, Anna Karenina, he wanted a graphic way to portray this complex world. “I discovered that Russian society of the 1870s was really sort of experiencing a kind of identity crisis,” observed Wright. “They all spoke French, they wore the latest Paris fashions, the ballrooms that they frequented even were mirrored completely so that they could observe themselves. So they really lived their lives as if upon a stage.” With the help of production designer Sarah Greenwood, they reimagined the social world of Anna Karenina taking place within a dilapidated Russian theater. Erasing the division of inside and outside, the theater includes a glittering ice rink where skaters push Anna (Keira Knightley) and Princess Betsy Tverskoy (Ruth Wilson) around in individual skated sleighs. It may be freezing, but the Princess’ mint-green dress with matching stole and pillbox hat not only keeps her warm but helped win Jacqueline Durran the Academy Award® for Best Costume Design.
Brokeback Mountain | Snow is a force of nature
In Ang Lee’s classic American romance Brokeback Mountain, two cowboys — Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) — find love herding sheep one summer. The breathtaking scenery that surrounds them provides an apt metaphor for the passion ignited between them. Indeed, Ennis waking one summer morning to a wintery landscape provides a scene as unpredictable and unstoppable as the feeling inside his heart. While the film is set in Wyoming, the filmmakers found their grandeur and snow in Alberta, on the same mountains that Robin Wright shot her snowy drama Land.
Hanna | Training in the snow
When Joe Wright’s Hanna begins, the title character (Saoirse Ronan) races down a deer, does hand-to-hand combat with her father (Eric Bana), and trains for her role as an assassin in the snow-covered barren land. To capture the eerie, frozen beauty of Hanna's alpine home, Wright and his team traveled to Kuusamo, Finland, right on the Russian border. While the snowy expanse mirrored the film’s sense of isolation perfectly, the shooting wasn’t always a winter wonderland. “Temperatures could be as low as -37 degrees Celsius and the amount of snow presented a challenge of its own,” remembers location manager Hessu Tönkyrä.
In Bruges | A snowy fairy tale
In Martin McDonagh’s black comedy In Bruges, two hitmen — Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) — cool their heels in the medieval Belgian city, unaware that their handler, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), is plotting against them. While Ken finds a tranquil beauty in the town’s gothic shadow, Ray finds the whole place a bore. Then, in the end, wounded and being chased, the town is transformed by the snow into a strange, waking dream. The characters from a local film production suddenly appear as if out of a fairy tale. Indeed, many have claimed In Bruges as an unintentional Christmas film. “Lit with the Christmas lights of the festive season, the Belgian city of Bruges has ironically never looked better than in Martin McDonagh’s violent crime thriller that often mocks the mere existence of the city itself,” writes Far Out Magazine.