Inside Art Curator Leonardo Bigazzi Details Symbolism Behind Film's Paintings (Exclusive)

Audiences saw what Willem Dafoe is capable of when he stars opposite just one actor in 2019's The Lighthouse. Those talent are amplified by reducing the cast to just himself in Focus Features's Inside. The Vasilis Katsoupis-directed picture takes Dafoe's Nemo into a luxurious New York City penthouse in an effort to swipe the owner's priceless art, but before he can finish the heist, the security system is triggered. This leaves the art thief trapped with nothing but the penthouse's limited resources and the eerie surrounding decor. Considering there are no other characters for Dafoe to play off of, the most interaction he has comes with the penthouse's art, making the selection of what artifacts would populate the environment all the more crucial.

Speaking to, Inside art curator Leonardo Bigazzi noted that some of the film's art pieces are clearly symbolic while others are up for interpretation.

"I think what is important about art is that it raises questions. This is a film through the art, through the subtext that it's built and embedded in," Bigazzi said. "There was a clear vision of how the art was on the one hand representing Willem's, the physical manifestation of his passions, of his even hidden pleasures in a certain sense. On the other hand, it had to mirror even the psychological breakdown of the character throughout the film. There's different layers, some of which can be very immediately perceived by the audience."

Two of the most prevalent paintings depict a man duct-taped to a wall and flight passengers standing on a tarmac staircase awaiting a plane that never arrives. 

"All these works of course are speaking about power control being trapped, time losing meaning. This is something that is perceivable beyond knowing exactly the art and the reasons why those works are there," Bigazzi said of the two biggest paintings. "Then there's a lot of different layers that you can actually access. I think in that sense, I think this is a movie that definitely opens up questions that hopefully the audience will want to research or also after they finish seeing it."

Inside is in theaters now. Merchandise for the film can be viewed here.