Friday, March 12, 2010

Chromatic March: some extra reading material

If you're interested in a lot more information on early color process in film, read Murray Pomerance's Notes on the Limits of Technicolor in the 2009 issue of Sense of Cinema. He takes us through an interesting history and technical overview of Technicolor, and his account culminates in a discussion of Antonioni's The Red Desert, one of the highest-regarded color films, which I would be including in this month's blogging, except that it's pretty hard to find.

In particular, note Pomerance's description of the hyperreal look that technicolor gives a scene:
Technicolor tended to offer the intensely saturated, yet also slightly unreflective, and thus seductive, colour that we can see in what photographers call “the magic hour,” that period before sunset on a clear day, when every hue is cast with a little red and the contrast between hues appears to heighten, with the effect that objects stand out from one another with augmented crispness and vitality.
Pomerance's comments on Antonioni are also worth reading, especially if you're interested in Italian modernist art-house cinema. I won't be getting around to an Antonioni film this month, but if you want to read about him, just stick with the Pomerance article:
The colour effects we see in Antonioni’s films are often abstract, in the sense that they are meant to approach and transform the viewer without specific practical reference to the objects in which they inhere. An appreciation of Antonioni’s colour films requires that the viewer really let colour work, and this is ultimately a commitment that transcends rationality.
Read what you can on the films and methodologies, and you can't help but sharpen your appreciation for the things you watch.

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