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What is the value of black and white in a color world?

In recent years, black and white movies have become largely a thing of the past. Is their death except as art-house fare a death to be lamented? What do black and white movies bring to the experience of movie-going that color films do not? In this sense, is it defensible, for example, to say that LA Confidential is a film noir and not a film couleur?

  • Films such as "Raging Bull" and "Sin City" that utilize black and white as well as color within the film itself would be interesting to touch upon. That the interplay between black and white with color has become intrinsically stylized and a recognizable trope for cinema. – 50caliburlexicon 6 years ago
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  • Black and white film is often mixed with colour film to indicate a flashback or change of setting. – Mrainey 6 years ago
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  • Black and white adds authenticity to a film and allows your other senses to be more active. – siarakainth 6 years ago
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  • Kat Coiro has an interesting take on this topic. If you can get your hands on a copy of her film, And While We Were Here, you can watch the film in both color and b&w. The department I work in hosted an event and she came and spoke about filming for a b&w edit vs. a color. I believe some of that information can be found online and in the special features. Gives a great voice to b&w filmmaking in the 21st century, why its growing more difficult to do, and why the industry has disowned it. – LukeRMcLaughlin 6 years ago
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  • Obviously, b&w films are nostalgic of an era gone by. Nowadays, like you said, filming in b&w is used as an artistic technique. In "Wings of Desire," the characters (angels) can only see in b&w until they become human. Color represents life and vitality. Likewise, Spielberg claimed that the little girl's red coat in Schindler's List (the only instance of color in a b&w film) was used to highlight this tragic, enormous event happening in plain sight that no one reacted to. Despite all this, I don't see the industry producing solely b&w films anytime soon. It has value, but more in the sense of being a technique than a mode of film itself. – Christina Legler 6 years ago
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  • Also add ‘Memento’ and ‘The Artist’ in your analysis. What did they achieve by using black and white that could not have been achieved by using colour? – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan 1 year ago
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