As a movie lover, noticing how lighting is used in a movie is a joy when appreciating a film.

For example, in “The Game,” the story of the “death” and “rebirth” of the protagonist is told in the lighting: In the first part, Michael Douglas is mostly lit from behind, most of his face usually in shadow. The majority of the scenes happen at night or in subdued light. He’s in the dark – lost, lonely, wounded, disconnected, unable to love.

Then there’s the moment he literally climbs out of a coffin in a BRIGHTLY-lit scene, a sudden blaze of white light shining in the viewer’s face. From that point on, Douglas is usually lit from the front, his face now in the light. He’s had everything taken from him; he’s suddenly able to appreciate merely being alive, and now he has purpose. The lighting was used to tell the story of this transformation on an emotional level.

When I was first exposed to this element of movie-making, a whole new world opened up to me. I went back and re-watched my favorite films, and it was like seeing the stories for the very first time.

Here’s an article and photographs the delve into the use of lighting in films: