Napoleon (in B&W)

From: william (WILLIAMA)12 Jan 22:42
To: ALL1 of 5
I brought the film up in the Holdovers thread, but I suppose a Ridley Scott film deserves its own topic. Yeah, it's fine and all that. Quite entertaining. I can see without a shadow of a doubt why a French critic, even the most liberal, might object to it. A profoundly complex motif in the French national psyche, is treated with comic simplicity. For no obvious reason. I mean, that would be fine if it wasn't an epic multi-million feature film about Napoleon. I think it has good points and I'll probably watch it again. 

Anyway, none of that. The point I want to make is that I'm absolutely fucking fed up with faux black and white. More than half of every sodding film or TV show I see these days is desaturated into a mess of sludgy greeny-greys and, er, greys, with a few reds (because they don't sludge in the digital sludgifier so well). Film the fucking thing in colour or fucking black and white. If you want to mix it then make a fucking effort to do it for a reason. 

For God's sake, it's so common that sometimes I don't even realise what's annoying me until I leap up in front of my astonished family screaming, 'It's filmed in sludge and grey!'

From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)13 Jan 13:37
To: william (WILLIAMA) 2 of 5
I'm very interested in this topic, as you call it the sludgification of film which I think has at least a few possible/plausible explanations. First of all, it seems unlikely that a ballyhooed top hollywood release, the investment of many millions of dollars, leaves much to chance -- not even the sludge, directorial artistic license be damned. Focus groups. It turns out folks want to look at sludge! (this is just a theory)

It may be a reaction to the anodyne perfection of digital cinema, nostalgia for analogue film look, and the newfound desire for 'authenticity' (100% authentic digital sludge). Or simply all the recent box office winners have it. Cheap gravitas that may otherwise be MIA between preposterous storylines and dialled-in performances by unconvincingly de-aged stars.

I'm interested in it because my latest cinema-inflected (or infected) faux photo book project is all kinds of sludgy! I will post a link in due course, once I am satisfied it isn't pandering to fellow cataract sufferers. Or even if it is. Double-vision is underrated!

All my projects are shot on consumer film stock with broken cameras: the sludge is free, and plentiful.
EDITED: 13 Jan 13:38 by DSMITHHFX
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)13 Jan 13:47
To: ALL3 of 5
^^^TL;DR: it's a boomer thing.
From: william (WILLIAMA)13 Jan 14:09
I don't doubt that money is made, in vast bucketfuls, and that the men who lurve the money do all that they can to make it. That said, I don't necessarily share your faith in the competence of money-men and women. I suspect that they may believe that what they do will haul in a few more dollars, and that the input of focus groups or whatever is useful. However, I also suspect that the genuinely effective levers they have available are far more obvious than applying a fashionable slew of gunk to the output of multi-million dollar optical equipment. Things like having a star name or two, a humungous advertising budget, loads of free publicity (which a film about Napoleon will get), and a big name director blah, blah, blah, are far more reliable guarantors of success. 

Of course, there are directors who fuck about with colours in other ways. Looking at recordings of stuff by Wes Anderson, I thought I'd screwed something up. But no, he means it to be that way. My own view is that whereas lush, vivid colour works wonderfully in the Grand Budapest Hotel, the washed out over-bright Asteroid City is irritating and his recent series of short films for Netflix, which have much in common with Asteroid City, are just wrong. However, I do applaud him for not simply leaning on the sludge button.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)13 Jan 19:32
To: william (WILLIAMA) 5 of 5
I quite like earlier Wes Anderson, when his ideas seemed genuinely fresh, and before  he started making the pastiche selfies. I don't think he has worked on the scale or budget of noir-loving Ridley Scott, or been that big of a box office draw outside of the arthouse circuit.
EDITED: 13 Jan 19:33 by DSMITHHFX