Wednesday, July 18, 2007



Have just discovered this brief interview in New Scientist with Annie Mollard-Desfour, a linguist who has written "Dictionnaire des mots et expressions de couleur : Le Rose" (unfortunately in French) which describes the language of color. Fascinating examples of how different cultures emphsize hue versus brightness, and the different color meanings (bleu means 'novice' in French - green in English, white is mourning in China whereas it means purity (virginal) in western cultures. (Only Dead Fish posts about it here).


I just finished a short book on Kandinsky, the abstractionist painter. What fantastic use of color! Phenomenal work backed up by some real insight into art. Reminds me of Leonardo for some reason (although the conclusions are almost opposite).

For some reason a number of color-containing posts crossed my path, so I present them here:
Interesting how some color usage is culture specific (like green for envy). Might be something to consider when using color in any film or video game.

Which brings me to a few movies I've watched recently, Hero, and Curse of the Golden Flower. Color is used extensively in these movies, CotGF with an almost overabundance of color, and Hero with selective use of color in the various sections. Of course there is the classic color differentiation in The Matrix (green for the Matrix, blue for the real world) and other movies like Titus, or black and white classics like Cascablanca. It's amazing how you can control emotions with the use of color. Some of these were shot in their raw color format while others had color tweaked in post production (Lord of the Rings, Sin City, 300 are other examples).

And then we have the overabundance of green in many music videos (along with hyper editing). Something that I can't really stand as it's far too derivative.

Are there any other movies that make selective use of the color palette for meaning? With today's digital editing and digital film is there too much use of color? Too much play with color spectrum? Is the subtlety now lost?


micnit said...

This might be a bit too academic and not "applied" enough, but my colleague Angela Dalle Vacche has published two books that might be of interest: her own book "Cinema and Painting" and the edited "Color, The Film Reader" (ridiculously expensive on Amazon but there is a newer edition, I think). If you want to have a quick and dirty sum up of mise en scene, cinematography and color (to a smaller extent): Bordwell/ Thompson's "Film Art: An Introduction" is something I use all the time.

bllius said...

Thanks! I see what you mean about expensive but I'll take a look at these (all have search inside enabled at Amazon).