This was a project done during film school as a Dramatic exercise. This was essentially a single shot or a long take, in black and white film. Called ‘The Last Laugh’, this 3min film was directed by Sujata Chowdhury, shot by Eeshit Narain, edited by Shekhar Tiwari and sound designed by Debrup Bag. It was shot inside a studio. Being the production designer I took care of designing the set and costumes.
The story: The Joker fantasises about the beautiful Queen, who awaits the perfect suitor. The King of Diamonds tries to impress her with dazzling neckpieces set in diamonds, none of which fail to win her. Steps in, the King of Clubs, who tosses away the diamonds with his golf club and claims to be the macho man, but the Queen waves both of them away, unimpressed. The King of Hearts waltzes in with a heart balloon symbolising his heart which he offers to give to the Queen, but the King of Spades pokes in literally bursting the balloon. The angry Kings try a hand and fist at each other as their last resort to win the queen by eliminating others, but in all the commotion of the war of the card kings, the Queen flees from her throne. The Joker had been watching all this from afar and is enjoying the commotion while completely unaware that the Queen herself had appeared right behind him. Astonished the Joker shies, but the Queen persists to reveal the flower that he’d been hiding. She accepts the flower and the Joker gleefully has the last laugh!
The Set: Since the film was in black and white the tonal values of the set as the backdrop and the costumes mattered. The Joker’s world was under the spotlight hence the background was completely dark. As we move from the joker to the queen’s room, strands of crystal beads were used to enter into the grandeur. The lavish background was thought to be lighter than the figures, to make the surrounding seem more vast and grand. The colours of the walls and drapes were very minutely contrasting just to differ the forms but nonetheless more monotonous. A low contrast pattern was used on the walls to add texture.
Costumes: The Kings were dressed in black tuxedos to contrast them from the background and were the darker characters. Their symbols were patterned as embroidery onto their backs. The Queen being the neutral figure was in mid tone. The gown used was of a light and airy material with adornments, worn along with glittering jewellery. The Joker had a darker than mid tone jester costume which was handmade.