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Who in there right mind in this day and age wants to see a black and white film in a cinema?

  • 07-02-2022 10:32pm
    Registered Users Posts: 15,731 ✭✭✭✭

    I know I certainly do not.

    The film Belfast looks to be all B and W which is a pity. They should give people the option of colour or B and W.

    I just do not see the appeal myself. I would to see it on the TV if its like that.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,799 ✭✭✭✭DrumSteve

    It does work in certain contexts, for instance, the black and white cut of logan was incredible

  • Registered Users Posts: 53,028 ✭✭✭✭ButtersSuki

    Sin City was amazing in black and white, and the Mad Max reboot in black and white worked really well too.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 29,217 CMod ✭✭✭✭johnny_ultimate

    There’s a certain irony in Belfast of all films being used as the example in the thread 😅 That does have colour - quite overtly so - for very particular reasons.

    The ‘black & white’ versions of certain blockbusters (Logan, even Parasite) are the least interesting black & white movies. It kind of comes across as a director or studio trying to gain some cheap extra prestige, or a novelty to justify a re-release in the cinema. Fury Road was a curio (although I still think the colour version works much better), but it’s since been an unwelcome trend IMO. You can't just zap a film of colour, or add colour to a black & white film: you need to commit to one or the other.

    Films that were entirely shot and designed around black & white are a different matter entirely. Properly light and compose a scene for black & white and it can still be a powerful, mesmerising aesthetic.

    Post edited by johnny_ultimate on

  • Registered Users Posts: 374 ✭✭Useless Lump

    If the director wants their movie to be black& white, sepia, watercolour, etc. it is fine with me.

    Branagh wanted the movie to be black & white for a reason. why would he have it colourised ?

    What is wrong with movies in black & white?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,761 ✭✭✭Effects

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  • Registered Users Posts: 15,731 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    I am not. Will watch it when it gets to TV in a couple of years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,377 ✭✭✭✭Arghus

    Because a film can look beautiful in black and white.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,963 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Shindlers list. I know it's almost 30 years old now but can't imagine it in full HDR colour

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,939 ✭✭✭trashcan

    First film that came to mind for me. I saw in the cinema and it looked superb. Definitely added something to it I think. Maybe because we tend to think of that era in black and white anyway, at least I know I do. A film being black and white certainly wouldn’t put me off seeing it in the cinema.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,751 ✭✭✭growleaves

    It's a stylistic choice. It can look great if done well.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,635 ✭✭✭wench

    Last B&W I saw in the cinema was The Lighthouse. It definitely added to the bleak atmosphere.

    As to whether I'm in my right mind, who can say?

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,248 ✭✭✭✭~Rebel~

    Yeah, exactly. Same as all colour in film. It's never as simple as just colour or B&W, we're never watching any film and seeing exactly what it looked like as it was shot raw - the colour grade is a huge part of the post-production process. There are always choices being made to tailor it towards the desired 'feeling' of the end product - whether it's going for rich vibrants colours, or something more desaturated, or leaning into a particular tone of colour (Villeneuve's 'Enemy' with its yellows, or the Blue/Green combination of The Matrix to distinguish between the real and constructed worlds). As long as the choices are motivated by the story and tone of the film, it's all good.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,342 ✭✭✭Zak Flaps

    Exactly! But I think this will totally go over the OP's head.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,458 ✭✭✭✭gandalf

    TBH its totally up to the Directors vision.

    As stated above I don't think Schindlers List would have had the same impact in colour (I do know that there was a girl in a red coat but because that was the only colour it amplified its impact).

    I listened to Mel Brooks book there before Christmas and he stated that he made Young Frankenstein in B&W as a homage to the 1930's films he was parodying and it worked and tbh the comedy, writing and acting in it were so good that the experience wasn't diminished by it being in B&W.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,546 ✭✭✭flasher0030

    I understand where you are coming from. I would have zero desire to watch a film in black and white. I've heard good things about The Lighthouse and Belfast. But neither will ever make it on to my viewing list. I don't see the point in having films in black and white. If a filmmaker wishes to portray a bleak environment, it can be done without making the whole movie in black and white. Moving from B&W to colour many decades ago was a massive progression. I have no desire to regress.

  • Registered Users Posts: 551 ✭✭✭sbs2010

    If you don't want to watch BW films fine. Your choice.

    But how many of these would have been better for being in colour:

    Raging Bull

    The Elephant Man


    And many more.

    They're definitely not worse for having been in black and white.

    BW lends authenticity to films set in the past (pre colour tv era).

    On the flip side, take Jojo Rabbit - that had a very bright colour but could have done with being black and white.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,967 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    Why does shade matter either way? All of cinema is artifice anyway, starting with "the look" of the thing - why is a black and white palette too much an ask, as opposed to all the framing, set design, lighting, colour grading, etc that's often just as obviously unreal? B&W is just a stylistic choice, allowing for a certain type of mood, language and tone.

    To point out an obvious example of the above: when is night in a film actually dark? Or for that matter: when is night ever so blue in reality? Heck many productions shoot in daytime and just throw a filter over the footage. It's very common.

    Movies rarely use "natural" colour or light. In fact so much it's usually noted when a "naturalistic" style is used like Nomadland. Some will be more obvious than others but it's rare reality, as we see it, is shot on camera. Black and white is just the more stark, dramatic choice but the opposite exists too: Michael Bays films often oversaturated with colour, the contrast ramped up. His films no more aping our natural senses than black and white.

    Part of why The Lighthouse, by way of mentioned example, worked was because the b&w emphasised and complemented the deep, oppressive tone and energy that infected the story. The lack of colour depth gave the location a greater sense of the inescapable and the uncanny. It wasn't just cos it looked artsy (or indeed, fartsy), but because it was another ingredient of a story of insanity. Had the lighthouse and surrounds been full of colour, would it have worked so well? Probably not, though we'll never know.

    Sometimes you'll get interesting comparisons though, such as with Mad Max: Fury Road where the "black and chrome" version was a black and white edit released with the Blu-ray. It was a little pointless but again, kinda gave the film a different energy. A film, I might add, whose original palette was already, intentionally hyper saturated to the point it looked like a dream, or cartoon. It also had a night scene of blues and deep navies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,457 ✭✭✭✭Timberrrrrrrr

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    La Haine is up there for me as one of my favorites. Black and White added so much to it's style. It's also subtitled 🤣

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 29,217 CMod ✭✭✭✭johnny_ultimate

    Said with all respect to differing viewpoints, but it’s seriously shooting yourself in the foot for little gain if you refuse to watch a film you want to watch just because it’s black & white.

    Honestly, black & white done well is such a particularly special thing that you’re probably more likely to encounter a carefully crafted film if the director has chosen b&w. Of course there are badly or lazily shot black & white films, but the form requires a certain attention to shadow and lighting. So many of the mainstream colour films these days are flatly or blandly shot. Films like Cold War, The Lighthouse, C’mon C’mon or many others have had a profound amount of artistry and love put into them, and they just leap off the screen as a result. It’s not just a shortcut to being ‘bleak’ - many different films use monochrome for very different thematic or tonal reasons.

    Even Belfast - a film I don’t think is particularly interesting visually or thematically - at least has put thought into why it’s (mostly) black & white. It’s an attempt by Branagh to reflect his memories to the best of his capabilities. And the film’s best moments are more striking precisely because Branagh uses b&w and colour as big, bold emotional contrasts to each other.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,290 ✭✭✭BruteStock

    Sin City wasn't a traditional black and white picture it was actually very visually stylistic and innovative at the time. Couldn't think of anything worse than watching Mad Max 4 in B&W. The visual flair of the film was on of its best qualities.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,761 ✭✭✭Effects

    It doesn't sound like you're the kind of person that would be into watching a film like the Lighthouse anyway. You'd have way more things to moan about it if you did.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,546 ✭✭✭flasher0030

    It's not great so, I take it. Got decent reviews from some of the main rating sites. I just cannot get into the B&W setting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,761 ✭✭✭Effects

    It's a wonderful film, but if you can't get past the fact it's in black and white, then you'll hate other stylistic choices too. Such as the aspect ratio, which is almost square.

    Thinking that modern films are progressive because they are in colour is just really narrow minded.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,546 ✭✭✭flasher0030

    If I want to be entertained by ratios, I'd read a maths book. When I want to be entertained by a movie, I watch TV. 😋 Sorry I have no idea what an aspect ratio is. Will take your word for it.

    I've whinged enough about The Lighthouse cause its in black and white, and I haven't even seen the film. Realistically I am not in a position to judge it. As I was saying, it's just the B&W issue that puts me off. I like psychological type films like Shutter Island, Fight club etc. , and have decent patience to sit through slowish but intense movies. I like Defoe and Pattinson too. To hell with it, I am going to throw this on tonight when the kids are in bed. Hopefully, I'll have egg on my face by 11.30 tonight. And as a punishment, I throw on Belfast tomorrow night.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,967 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    "Aspect Ratio" means the shape of the picture. You'd be familiar with a typical "cinematic" look of that letterbox picture shape, with black bars above and below the action, depending on what you watched it on. Widescreen et al. Depending on your age, you'd have grown up with the 4:3 ratio with your TV, back when it wasn't uncommon for films to have the top & bottom of their picture cut off to fit the square shape.

    The Lighthouse went for a square aspect ratio, the picture boxed off like a polaroid photo. Again, like everything else, it was a choice to help the story and its tone, not just pretension towards something that looked fancy. The isolated, barren location of two men trapped in a lighthouse was emphasised through this choice of screen real estate; where even the space in which the film took place was constrained and smaller. Claustrophobic.

    Point here, is while I can't say if you'd like The Lighthouse or not, its choice of colour palette and screen size were 100% part of the whole package, not just some inanity done for the hell of it. Evyerthing's a deliberate choice with these things.

    Post edited by pixelburp on

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,929 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    Cold War is one of my favourite films ever, it looks beautiful in black and white.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,797 ✭✭✭El Gato De Negocios

    Some films benefit from b & w. The Mist for example, colourised, some of the cgi looks quite poor given budgetary constraints but it looks virtually seamless in b & w.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,965 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    The Man Who Wasn’t There…

    the cinematography is so suited to the story and mood of the film and it’s characters, wouldn’t want to see it in colour.

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