Friday, July 13, 2007
The majesty of shadows
I've been contemplating colour a great deal lately. It must be the season ... not to mention a primary element of my job description - or at the very least the Graphic Designer element.
My housemate and great friend - JG - has a state-of-the-art home entertainment set-up: a projector, an (almost cinema width) screen on the living room wall, an AppleTV, a DVD player, an amp and a digital TV box ... thingy. It is an astonishing set-up which has, in a matter of days, resulted in me scampering home through the brittle darkness of a Melbourne winter to bask in the wonders of what I call 'Maxi Vision'. Everything is bigger! From the Footy to the South Park movie, our giant screen presides, magestically, over our every move ... or lack of the ability to move ... showering us with more colour and movement than I would normally expect to find gracing my nights at home.
JG is also an avid collector of movies. He has hundreds of them. He has eclectic taste, but he most certainly does have taste. And knowledge. And curiosity. A dazzlingly engaging mix.
With the rise in the value of the Australian Dollar against the Greenback, JG's been frantically emptying out his Amazon Shopping Cart ... and almost every day, I have arrived home to be proudly presented with a couple more gems who have winged their way from the dark and dusty corners of Amazon's warehouse. This week alone, I have watched Jane Eyre, Reflections in a Golden Eye (curiously, the only movie Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando made together), The Fountainhead, Citizen Kane, Blade Runner, The Hustler, Bad Day at Black Rock and Paint Your Wagon! We're talking serious cinema.
Watching anything on Maxi Vision is a splendid experience ... but it has been the black and white movies that have had the most startling effect on my levels of appreciation. On a standard domestic television (let's call it Mini Vision), they're practically decimated to become hapless clusters of black, whites and a couple of shades of grey pixels - pinched, grotesquely, into a convenient size and shape to be beamed, almost apologetically by comparison, into our homes.
On Maxi Vision, they are amazing sights (and sounds) to behold. Unfurling as operatic creations of black and white and everything - and I mean everything - in between. We do these creations a great disservice by calling them "Black and white movies". Nothing in them - or about them - is black and white. There are too many kinds of black and too many kinds of white and literally millions of tones of grey. Do yourself a favour. Hunt down a cinema near you that's showing a film that's not in colour. Marvel at the the artistry ... and the majesty of shadows.