The Two Faces of January(2014)
Based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith, who wrote The Talented Mr Ripley, and set in the scorching sunlight of Athens, Crete and Istanbul in 1962, this smartly paced suspense movie ensnares Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac in a wary, but very stylish, triangle. It’s never clear who can be trusted, but the summer suiting, Italian polo shirts and clean-cut mid-60s grooming are infallible, embodying a surprisingly contemporary chic.
A Bigger Splash (2015)
Tilda Swinton is a David Bowie-type rock star rendered temporarily speechless by a voice operation, holidaying with her documentary-maker boyfriend (former Louis Vuitton model Matthias Schoenaerts) on Pantelleria, an impossibly gorgeous island found between Sicily and Tunisia. The two lovers mooch around enjoying a glamorous holiday the likes of which us non-rock stars can only dream of, until an old music producer friend (Ralph Fiennes) shows up with a daughter he’s only just discovered he has (Dakota Johnson). Tension bubbles up slowly, the plot thickens, and then continues to curdle in this “erotic psychological drama” with a superabundance of really good sunglasses. Fiennes’ summer holiday wardrobe, in particular, is a great example of how to dress playfully without sacrificing your dignity.
This super art-school-y classic directed by Jean-Luc Godard throws Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli and Jack Palance together, with some hot cars, poetic dialogue, and the Casa Malaparte, a jaw-dropping clifftop mansion on the island of Capri.
Piccoli plays a writer given the awkward task of improving a famous director’s script for a movie adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. It’s all very meta, with cameos from Fritz Lang and Godard himself, exploration of the impressive Cinecitta studios in Rome, and shots of Bardot’s equally impressive naked bod, reportedly thrown in to satisfy American co-producers anxious for box office success. The palette is primary coloured: yellow towelling robes and suits, red mid-century furniture and classic cars, the endless azure of the Gulf of Naples.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Originally written as a vehicle for Mick Jagger and David Bowie, and directed by legendary puppeteer Frank Oz (Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Cookie Monster, Yoda), this comedy crime flick set in the South of France mixes Steve Martin’s goofy, carefree 80s pastel vibes with a bit of Brylcreemed Michael Caine faux-sophistication. The fact that they’re both con men is what makes all the double breasted sports jackets, formal tuxedos, and loose-fitting croquet whites so stylish.