Big Eyes: Tim Burton’s Big Eyes Gallery
Vincent Molloy (Vincent, 1982)
Edward (Edward in Silver Hands, 1990)
Catwoman (Batman The Challenge, 1992)
Jack Skellington (Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993)
The Martians (Mars Attacks !, 1996)
Ichabod Crane (Sleepy Hollow, 1999)
Stainboy (adapted as a web-series in 2000)
Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005)
Victor von Dort and Emily (The Funeral Wedding, 2005)
The Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland, 2010)
Barnabas Collins (Dark Shadows, 2012)
Victor Frankenstein and Frankenweenie (Frankenweenie, 2012)
Clip of Here with Me by The Killers (2012)
Margaret Keane (Big Eyes, 2015)
M. Barron (Miss Peregrine and the Peculiar Children, 2016)
From Vincent to Dumbo, the director has developed this obsession in almost all of his films!
In Big eyes, released in 2015 at the cinema (and back this Sunday on Arte), Tim burton finds a new expression of his eye obsession. He dives into the gaze of Margaret Keane, a painter whose specialty was the portraits of wide-eyed and oversized characters who were extremely popular at the end of the 1950s. A work which, much more than a simple biopic, will draw hollow the portrait of a very particular obsession of the filmmaker concerning the eyeballs of his heroes. The bigger they are, the more Burtonian they are. Moreover, the filmmaker had confided during an interview to recognize himself through the work of Elizabeth Keane. Because this is not fooling anyone, Burton certainly drew from these paintings a taste for the strangeness of the distorted eye which is reflected in his own creations.
Big Eyes: Open your eyes wide for Tim Burton, Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz [critique]
Not all looks are the same at Burton, and not all of them embrace the taste for gigantism. But this characteristic is found in his early works. In his first short film, the enormous eyes of Vincent Molloy only amplified the penetrating gaze of Vincent Price, the director’s youthful idol. Whether through The Funeral Weddings or the remake of his short film Frankenweenie, all the rest of the animated filmography will take up this taste of the expressionist gaze, both childish and frightening, which is also found in the eyes “ping-pong balls” aliens from Mars Attacks!.
His literary creations like Stainboy, The Staring Girl Where The Girl with Many Eyes are the logical extension of this universe. Even a counterexample like the Jack Skellington of The strange Christmas of Mr. Jack (character created by Burton although the film is directed by Henry selick) ultimately does not move away so much with these two big gaping holes that serve as his eyes. When it is not itself enormous, the eye is anyway artificially enlarged by abundant make-up, often in contrast with particularly pale skin. The most extreme case remaining that of Beetlejuice, whose make-up devours her eyelids from the eyebrow to the cheekbone, like two black spots that almost seem to bring the eye out of their sockets. To a lesser degree, many Burtonian characters follow the same pattern: this is the case of the Penguin in Batman: The Challenge, ofEdward Scissorhands, of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (although her makeup is not black), or Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows. Finally, the last large group of “big eyes“Burtonian: the glasses, enormous even distorting which sometimes hide the gaze, sometimes magnify it, like those that Burton himself likes to wear regularly. If the bottoms of bottles which serve as glasses to Willy Wonka are already in itself remarkable enough to underline the eccentricity of the character, the lunetière madness turns to big anything in Sleepy hollow with magnifying glasses steampunk that Ichabod Crane wears regularly. And even when he takes a detour through the music video, like the song “Here with Me” of The Killers, he can not help dressing his hero with a good pair of dark glasses reflecting a woman nailed to a spiral. Note also the more macabre use which is made of this theme in Miss Peregrine and special children, a free adaptation of the literary saga of Ransom Riggs in which the eyes hold an important place … and terrifying.
Eva Green: “Tim Burton and I”
In the end, when you are asked to draw a face Tim burton, there is a good chance that the eyes will swallow half of it. Like the hand, the eye is a kind of fetishism in the director’s aesthetic. But far from becoming a simple caricature, the eyes are still the motor of the emotion that makes Burton’s characters endearing: by turns sad, mischievous, threatening, piercing, they are what gives them life and brings them into our world. collective imagination.
Tim Burton: “The border between reality and imagination is very blurred”