Color is one of the most powerful storytelling tools that a filmmaker has. It adds to the visual storytelling of the film, drawing an emotional or psychological response from the audience. Certain colors have become shorthand for specific emotions or ideologies, making the process of finding the perfect color pallet for your story an exciting exploration of color theory

In his book, Colours of Film: The Story of Film in 50 Palettes, film critic Charles Bramesco breaks down the pivotal role that color plays in 50 iconic films. Rather than looking at a specific color in a film, Bramesco looks at the often overlooked effects of color palettes in film. 

Rather than using light and shadows to tell stories, color creates dynamic images that enhance the film’s mise-en-scène. Probably the most notable filmmaker who’s obsessed with every detail in the frame and has a very specific color palette is Wes Anderson

Anderson’s pastels and muted tones are aesthetically pleasing, evoking a seasonal nostalgia of childhood wonder. Anderson also uses colors to talk about the characters and their positions in the story. In The Grand Budapest Hotel, the antagonists are in dark colors, the government men are in grey, and the protagonists wear bold and bright colors. 

From film colorist innovators Élisabeth and Berthe Thuillier and Lovers Rock to Saw II, Bramesco covers favorite directors and their most visually stunning films, breaking down the color pallets into infographics to provide a new perspective on how you can use color in your stories.

What Was The First Color Movie Ever Made?'A Trip to the Moon'Credit: Star Film Company

Bramesco also explores in detail how the development of technology has shaped the course of modern cinema through color, and how the advent of computer technology has created a digital wonderland for modern directors. He also helps us understand in detail the infamous feud between Kodak and Fujifilm that shaped the greatest color pallets of our favorite films.

The book goes on sale on Feb. 7, 2023. You can preorder the book here, and get ready to understand the visually stunning world of cinema. 

Source: Charles Bramesco via Twitter