Have you already watched Malcolm & Marie (2021)? Are you astonished by the depth and relatability of the dialogues between the two main characters in the movie? Have you thought about how this movie would look if it was filmed in color? Why did the director decide to film it in black-and-white? 

Throughout the years several directors have adopted the practice of shooting movies in black-and-white. One of such movies – The Artist (2011) has won 5 Oscars. Even though it might seem difficult to compete against contemporary color movies and CGI, examples of the Artist emphasize that there is more to movies than just beautiful scenery and great effects. 

Fantasy World Can Seem More Tangible With black-and-white Movies

But why exactly are directors filming movies in black-and-white when color movies seem to have higher chances of attracting viewers? The answer is not particularly straightforward here. Black-and-white movies are successful in emphasizing the stark contrast between dreams and reality. Our everyday lives are set in colorful tones. Hence, viewing movies in black-and-white further enhances the dream-like features of the films and makes it easier for the audience to sink into the fantasy world. 

Black And White Variations

Black-and-white has more color variations than you can probably imagine. Hence, despite how colorful contemporary movies are, black-and-white movies can also be lively and vibrant. In addition, black-and-white movies are associated with the emergence of the film era, therefore in the movie world, they have an air of glamor around them than colored ones do not. Most of the movie starting from that era are known for their classy black-and-white visuals. On top of this, there is an entire movie genre – film noir that purely consists of black-and-white movies. 

You Are An Art Director In black-and-white Movies 

Perhaps the only difference between me and other people is that I’ve always demanded more from the sunset. More spectacular colors when the sun hit the horizon. That’s perhaps my only sin.” – Lars Von Trier.

Black-and-white movies let you open up your imagination and color the landscapes or costumes yourself. If you always wanted to be an art director or you were never satisfied with the color choices of the costume designer, then you can be the one in control of such details in black-and-white movies.

Esthetics And Storytelling Reasons

Black-and-white movies are often used by directors to make references to the past days or the times when black-and-white movies were at the top in terms of popularity. Especially if the movie storyline is from the era when black-and-white movies were common. Sometimes such movies are simply bearers of more gloomy and distressing storylines. Can you imagine The Artist (2011) or Schindler’s List (1993) shot in color instead of black-and-white? that would be a totally different experience. 

Another reason why directors are choosing black-and-white is because of the esthetics. It is much easier for the viewers as well as for the directors to focus on the facial features of the actors as well as the storyline when the movie is filmed in black-and-white. There is no need to consider various elements of color that would distract the audience’s attention. 

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