Wong Kar Wai

Video: Wong Kar Wai’s colour obsession

The art of cinematography encompasses many aspects, from framing to lighting, but also, of course, the effects of colour on screen. Director Wong Kar Wai, in his long-term partnership with cinematographer Christopher Doyle, is famous for his use of colour in his films, including 2000’s In The Mood For Love. Cultural critic Giuliana Bruno has described his use of colour in his work as “painterly brush strokes, transforming the screen into a post-impressionistic space where bodies in motion become ‘traces’ of moving colour.” Wong Kar Wai began his career studying graphic arts at Hong Kong Polytechnic and this visual, colour-led sensibility can perhaps be seen in all his work since. The film also reveals the contribution of William Chang, Wong’s production designer, costume designer, and editor in colouring his cinematic world, with every detail from the light shades to the leading lady’s eye shadow all being part of a seamless colour palette full of emotion and symbolism. One last thing… listen to the short film with the sound turned up. For Wong music and colour combine to create synthetic effects: “Music can be used to create colours,” he has said. “I think the music and the image actually have a kind of chemistry.”
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Wong Kar Wai: Color Obsession [SuperCut] from Glass Distortion on Vimeo.

Ros Anderson


Ros Anderson is an interiors journalist and blogger who has worked for The Guardian, Elle Decoration, Ideal Home and many more. In 2009 she co-founded cult interiors blog My Friend's House with Jill Macnair, as a place to write about design in a more honest, spontaneous and humorous way.

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