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Color is a uniquely powerful tool in the art of cinematic storytelling. We’re all naturally sensitive to color and its impact doesn’t require our conscious awareness in order to be felt emotionally, psychologically, and even physically. For some filmmakers, the role of color is so important it may as well be considered a character unto itself.
Our fascination with this is beautifully stoked by one of our favorite Instagram accounts, colorpalette.cinema, which is solely devoted to exploring the use of color in movies, one scene at a time.
Kalki, the cinephile behind colorpalette.cinema, selects a single screenshot from a film and then carefully creates a palette revealing all the colors used in that scene, ordered from left to right, in the amount they are employed, from greatest to least.
At a glance this might seem like a simple exercise, but the more scenes and palettes one examines, the more thoughtful you realise the process is. The beautiful result of this effort – besides the obvious visual pleasure of scratches our respective pantone-minded, color-coordinating itches – is an unveiling of all the layers of aesthetic work that went into each scene. As Kalki described to me,
“With these palettes you can easily see the whole work from the director, the cinematographer, the makeup department, costume designers… and perhaps understand why a certain color scheme was chosen.”
“I just really really love cinema as an art-form, and I find very interesting how colors are used. Since most of the times the audience is caught up by the film, they might not realize, visualize the colors in a certain scene.”
We love these scene and palette pairings for even more than the pleasure of marveling at the cinematic artistry at work. They catalyze so much daydreaming as well. What if you painted or decorated a room using the palette from a favorite scene? Or dressed yourself? Or, and we’re looking at you here, our beloved Kat Von D, what if you created eyeshadow palettes based on particular scenes?
As you might imagine, it was terribly challenging to select the examples seen here. We strongly recommend sacrificing some time to pore over the entire colorpalette.cinema account. If you’re anything like us, you’ll find yourself writing a mental wish list of scenes as you go. Fortunately, Kalki accepts requests via direct message on Instagram.
In addition to colorpalette.cinema, Kalki runs two additional film-related Instagram accounts: cinema.magic, a cinema appreciation page full of behind-the-scenes photos and fan art, and stanleykubrick__, a Stanley Kubrick fan page.