Perhaps the most important part of filmmaking isn’t an unforgettable script, an original, raucous character or shooting the entire thing during magic hour (looking at you, Terrence Malick). There are elements often forgotten which bring entire tales together, can symbolize them as a whole, and change the course of cinematic history. This is an ode to the constantly-looked-over-yet-mysteriously-obligatory part of filmmaking — the prop.
In his astute, aptly-edited 10-minute video essay, Rishi Kaneria focuses on the myriad importances of film props: how they are used, what they represent, and how something so simple as the use of a color or fruit (oranges, for instance, in “The Godfather”) can change the way we look at, or what we remember from a film. Kaneria floats through the history of cinema — everything from “The Bicycle Thief” (and the titular bicycle) to “Citizen Kane” (oh, Rosebud) to “The Red Balloon” (need I say more) — carefully exemplifying the significance of oftentimes neglected objects.
Props can also be eponymous with the film’s title, like in “The Maltese Falcon,” or set us up for future films, like when Wayne Knight drops his stolen Barbasol can of DNA in “Jurassic Park.” The next time you watch an old favorite, don’t forget to keep a look out for any props you may have looked over before. Is there a particular scene that you remember because of its props or symbols? Let us know in the comments below.