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Made in White City

The Not-So-Silver Screen

Continuing to explore the theme of colour this month, we put on our cinematic mood ring and take a brief look at pixelated pigment on the big screen.


That the way films are put together visually tells as much of their story as the dialogue or the action within it is hardly a revelation. The idea that the cues we take from colour, however, are as potent as those we might receive from a film's soundtrack or score is ground a little less well-trodden. Yes, there is a whole series of Wes Anderson Colour Pallette images relating to his meticulously assembled set designs and wardrobe choices – but colour does not belong to one man alone.

From the iconic green of the final scenes of Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas to the blues and whites of Steve McQueen's Shame, the omnipresence of red in Spike Jonze's Her and the constantly shifting colouration of Tom Ford's A Single Man, colour is more than an aesthetic choice – it's a parallel method of storytelling that can, on some occasions, outshine the more obvious layers of its narrative.

With that in mind, we've put together a gradient of film stills that have taken on a peculiar life of their own, existing beyond those fleeting seconds of screen time, and which cumulatively play out as a kind of automatic mood ring – or a short in colour.

...and if these aren't doing it for you, well, here's a four-minute, 86-film supercut covering everything from The Shining to Monsters Inc. that just might do the job.

From top to bottom: Wim Wenders – Paris, Texas (Road Movies Filmproduktion), Yimou Zhang – Hero (Beijing New Picture Film Co.), Lars Von Trier – Antichrist (Zentropa Entertainments), Tom Ford – A Single Man (Fade To Black Productions), Steve McQueen – Shame (See-Saw/Film 4), Nicolas Winding Refn – Only God Forgives (Space Rocket Nation), Barry Jenkins – Moonlight (A24/Plan B), Shane Carruth – Upstream Color (ebrp), Nicolas Winding Refn – The Neon Demon (Space Rocket Nation), Spike Jonze – Her (Annapurna Pictures), Lynne Ramsay – We Need To Talk About Kevin (BBC Films), Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight/Indian Paintbrush)

Our In Colour series explores the elusive and surprising phenomenon of colour in cities, with artists Craig and Karl as guest editors. The pair are working on a secret commission to transform one of White City's unloved spaces.

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