Pho­tog­ra­phers and direc­tors often work with col­or in a frame. The most com­mon­ly used oppo­site col­ors are red and green, yel­low and pur­ple, orange and blue.

Today I have com­piled a selec­tion of films where col­or mat­ters and plays on a par with actors.


The Wachows­ki broth­ers, who cre­at­ed the uni­verse of the Matrix, from the very begin­ning made an impor­tant empha­sis on col­or — green! The col­or of the code on the com­put­er, as well as the col­or of the entire matrix, which is the com­put­er child. The action of the tril­o­gy takes place in sev­er­al real­i­ties at once. In order for the view­er to visu­al­ly dis­tin­guish events and scenes, the direc­tors made a tricky move in the col­or scheme of the film: every­thing that hap­pens inside the matrix is ​​col­ored green, every­thing that hap­pens in the real world is cold blue. Take a look for your­self.

Here and there in the frame you can see dif­fer­ent green objects. Green tie, green note­book, green tiles in the kitchen — all this was not cho­sen by chance. So the film­mak­ers left clues for the audi­ence.


The pic­ture of Pedro Almod­ovar is rich in col­or com­bi­na­tions and is dis­tin­guished by seri­ous work with col­or. Red runs like a thread through the entire film.

Every frame in this film is taste­ful­ly com­posed. The red thread of the sto­ry is framed by green and blue hues.

Red is the col­or of pas­sion. For the Spaniards, he acquired an almost sacred mean­ing. The paint­ing “Return” is rich in emo­tions, expres­sion and intri­cate fam­i­ly ties.


Roads, wan­der­ings, melan­choly, depres­sion and lack of a future — this is the main mood of the pic­ture of the Coen broth­ers. The pro­tag­o­nist is Lewin, a musi­cian who nev­er man­ages to gain pop­u­lar­i­ty.

The direc­tors delib­er­ate­ly made the col­ors of the film cold and mut­ed, the whole action takes place in a melan­choly, dim light. This is a direct reflec­tion of the state of the pro­tag­o­nist.

In some scenes, you can find a com­bi­na­tion of yel­low and turquoise. But the col­ors are not joy­ful, but dull and mut­ed, like the entire col­or palette of the film. Even in scenes that sug­gest a clear sun­ny day, there is no sun, no blue sky, no warm col­ors on the walls of hous­es. Every­thing breathes cold melan­choly.


Anoth­er film with under­stat­ed under­tones, but for a very dif­fer­ent rea­son. Roy Ander­s­son works in his own unique style, thanks to which even one frame can imme­di­ate­ly say: “This is Ander­sson’s film, one hun­dred per­cent!”. This is part­ly due to the mut­ed range. Only unlike Llewyn Davis, Ander­sson’s films have warm col­ors, how­ev­er, they are mut­ed: every­thing is in pas­tel col­ors. As char­ac­ters, Ander­s­son choos­es fat, mar­gin­al, not typ­i­cal for film roles. If we add to this the fact that almost every scene in his films is filmed in a built-in pavil­ion, where all objects and peo­ple are in cer­tain places, then the pale pic­ture of the Swedish direc­tor begins to play with new col­ors and you want to look at it dif­fer­ent­ly!

About Infin­i­ty is an infor­mal epi­logue to his big tril­o­gy. A film-para­ble, a film-sketch about small moments in the lives of ordi­nary peo­ple. Ander­sson’s heroes are lone­ly, sim­ple, mar­gin­al, almost like Chekhov’s lit­tle peo­ple. Per­haps such an approach to the col­or­ing of films should empha­size this, set­ting the tone for the small lives of the char­ac­ters.

Curi­ous­ly, there are two scenes in the film where col­ors play dif­fer­ent­ly. The first is a sketch about the time when Hitler had already been defeat­ed and is in a bunker. The sec­ond is when his defeat­ed army goes to sur­ren­der. White snow and dark uni­forms cre­ate the illu­sion of a black and white shoot.


Red, as we already found out in The Return, is expres­sion, the col­or of feel­ings and blood. For Jar­musch, this is the col­or of love, and its red is woven into the pic­ture with a much thin­ner, almost imper­cep­ti­ble thread.

A film about mod­ern vam­pires, who are many hun­dreds of years old, and they are tired of human­i­ty. Both lead an ascetic lifestyle filled with the eter­nal — lit­er­a­ture and music. Almost all the action of the pic­ture takes place exclu­sive­ly in the dark. The direc­tor col­ors the night with neon lights, exper­i­ments with light sources and uses.

There is no trag­ic melan­choly in the film. In addi­tion to the dom­i­nant red, Jar­musch uses a com­bi­na­tion of turquoise and beige. I would like to sug­gest that with cold turquoise the author empha­sizes ordi­nary mor­tals and human­i­ty destroy­ing the plan­et, and with warm beige — the care­ful, thought­ful atti­tude of the main char­ac­ters. How­ev­er, the frames show that this is not always the case.


The Shin­ing has been called one of the scari­est movies ever. What are the scenes with the ele­va­tor and the twins in blue. It is also worth not­ing the inge­nu­ity in terms of col­or. Kubrick is a mae­stro! Here red is blood. Real, with a reflec­tion of dan­ger, anx­i­ety and cru­el­ty. The direc­tor pays great atten­tion to the details in the frame and paints indi­vid­ual scenes due to them. Includ­ing alarm red.

Blue is no less impor­tant in the film: Wendy (the main char­ac­ter’s wife), Dan­ny (his son), and with them the sec­ondary char­ac­ters Dick and the twin girls are almost always in blue clothes. Blue becomes the col­or of all inno­cent vic­tims. Kubrick flirts with the view­er and leaves col­or East­er eggs. Arriv­ing at the hotel, Wendy declares that her favorite col­or is pink! True, she nev­er wears pink clothes for the entire film …

There is also a lot of green in the film. But, unlike the green bush­es, the green dec­o­ra­tion of the hotel some­times acquires acidic hues. Per­haps it is these acidic under­tones that ques­tion the real­i­ty of what is hap­pen­ing, adding sur­re­al­ism, mys­ti­cism. Acid Trump — bath­room scene.


Blue, white and red. This trio is paint­ings by Krzysztof Kieślows­ki, each of which is dom­i­nat­ed by a spe­cif­ic col­or. Such nam­ing is not acci­den­tal: the direc­tor put the French flag as the basis, all three col­ors of which reflect one of the val­ues: free­dom, equal­i­ty, fra­ter­ni­ty. In the case of blue, free­dom.

Free­dom is inter­nal, from your fears, obses­sive mem­o­ries and the past. This is the kind of free­dom that Julie, who lost her hus­band and daugh­ter in a car acci­dent, seems to be look­ing for. Blue in this case is about immer­sion in one­self, med­i­ta­tive­ness, thoughts, the very rhythm of the life of the main char­ac­ter. In dif­fer­ent scenes, Krzysztof Kieślows­ki com­ple­ments the col­or to already famil­iar com­bi­na­tions with either warm yel­low or green.


If this text did not con­tain at least one film by Wong Kar-Wai, then what kind of text about col­or would it be? The Asian direc­tor is the mas­ter of bright, rich­ly col­ored films. “2046” is a pearl in the col­lect­ed works of the author. Com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent! This pic­ture is more about con­tem­pla­tion than about an attempt to imme­di­ate­ly ana­lyze an intri­cate plot.

The main char­ac­ter, Chow, writes tabloid nov­els, and the nar­ra­tive alter­nates with the pos­si­ble future from his books, then returns to the past, play­ing hop­scotch with the audi­ence. The film has a lot of noir, neon col­ors and col­ors. The author does not use one col­or scheme, but jug­gles many at once. Neon green and yel­low, bur­gundy red, pur­ple and green — all of this is in abun­dance in the film. The pro­tag­o­nist floats along the riv­er of mem­o­ries, then falls into the worlds he cre­ates on paper, but in all cas­es it is bright! The past with a touch of pati­na is not worth wait­ing for. Rare black and white shots are an excep­tion: anoth­er ball of col­or in the hands of a ven­er­a­ble jug­gler.