I had a very pretty picture gallery here, but with Mubi changes, now to see them you will have to click on the green links that appear once you click Read More. Even if I say so myself, it’s worth it.
Pastel colours are generally soft and pale, rather than stark contrasts, but i’ve included some brighter uses. Pastels can represent fairytale romance (Cinderella), or cover emotional/psychological turmoil (Heavenly Creatures) and darker social issues (Sirk’s 50s classics, an influence on Haynes’ Far from Heaven), or both (Edward Scizzorhands). Heightened colours in Fassbinder’s Lola or Clouzot’s extraordinary, unfinished Inferno can denote dangerous currents too. As with Chantal Akerman’s later feminist landmark Jeanne Dielman, the shocking impact of Varda’s Le Bonheur (released soon after her husband Demy’s famous musical Umbrellas of Cherbourg) is stronger for the apparently serene pastel contentment. Terrence Malick liked to bathe his films, including his debut Badlands, in a pale magic hour glow. Japanese master Ozu, coming late in his career to colour, dealt in a subtle palette- in which, say, a red teapot becomes more noticeable.
Le Havre’s fable quality is underlined by its pastels, while Mani Kaul’s masterpiece Siddheshwari contrasts with bright Bollywood musicals In Thailand, drawing on the stylised sets of the Japanese classic Kwaidan, Tears of the Black Tiger is a gaudy kitsch “Western” in which bright pastels (rather than simply primary colours) feature strongly. Jerry Lewis and Frank Tashlin indulged a splashy paintbox enthusiasm, whether incorporating pastels or more garish colours. Ozon’s 8 Women mixes pastels with stonger colours to often gorgeous effect. While soft pastel period dresses are prominent in Sokurov’s Russian Ark, Frears’ Dangerous Liaisons and even more so Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette accentuated the aristocratic rococo of 18th France. Pastels are often considered feminine so it’s little surprise that several female directors feature here. Kelly Reichardt makes a welcome feminisation of the Western in the generally austere Meek’s Cutoff.
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