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Don't Worry Darling's DP Matty Libatique Points Out The Visual Motif With More Meaning Than You Thought - Exclusive

In Olivia Wilde's sci-fi thriller "Don't Worry Darling," young wife Alice (Florence Pugh) lives with husband Jack (Harry Styles) in a seemingly idyllic community called Victory. In every family in Victory, the men leave every morning for work on the mysterious Victory Project while their dutiful housewives tend to the home and their children. Alice starts to notice things aren't what they seem — finding a neighbor ill at ease, eggs that are mysteriously hollow in their shells — and begins to question the reality of their life in Victory. We watch as Alice struggles to get to the bottom of this threatening male-dominated world.

The film is gorgeously shot by famed cinematographer Matty Libatique, with vivid color, elegant camera movement, and smart composition. One motif that permeates the film's visual palette is the notable use of circular imagery. We see overhead shots of round cul-de-sacs, irises, poured coffee, and circles of dancers, creating an otherworldly set of visuals throughout the film. In an exclusive interview with Looper, Matty Libatique reveals that not only is that imagery part of a carefully planned shot design, but it also means a lot more than one might think.

Using visual motifs to reinforce the film's symbolic meaning

Matty Libatique explains that even from his first interviews with Wilde, that visual motif was evident. "That's all born out of Olivia [Wilde]," Libatique says. "When I first met her and I saw the wall of inspiration, there was one striking image of an eyeball that she was so attached to, and it felt like she was carrying it around in her mind all the time." While the visual image of the eye proved inspirational for "Don't Worry Darling," the shape had a much larger impact than that one image. To Wilde, "it was a theme, and [in] everything she was doing, she wanted the repeatability and consistency of that shape."

In the film, Victory boasts the boxy architecture of 1950s construction, and the use of circular imagery permeating that visual structure packs symbolic value that reflects the film's story. Libatique explains that Victory is "a world created by men," but within it, "there's a feminine story, so the circle was this shape inside a square or a rectangle." This provides a contrast that emphasizes these thematic elements, as "the architecture of mid-century modern [is] straight lines, but then you always go back in the circle," a constant visual refrain that underscores the film's thematic meaning.

Libatique explains the importance of the use of this imagery in the film: "It's a very clever vehicle, reminding the audience what the point of the story is in a very subtle way," the circular imagery breaking the carefully planned, boxy architectural structures of Victory just like Alice works to break the social structures of Victory. It's an excellent example of how the visual language of film can enhance and contribute to a film's thematic meaning.

"Don't Worry Darling" is currently in theaters.