For these critiques of the short films “Jordanne” and “Jimmy On the Run” I will discuss how effectively color was used in each project.
For Jordanne the color was used to express the emotions of the protagonist, reflecting her various moods and personality. It was also utilized as a way to add visual intensity to the narration. When the camera was on her she was upbeat (i.e., the archival footage of her as a little girl in a wheelchair with a pink cast, and at the end of the film when she’s talking about tennis) the colors were bright and deeply saturated. In the shots where she was sitting quietly, after revealing a melancholy memory, the hues were softer and the close-ups of her face looked appropriately muted. Color affected the film overall by also showing the passage of time (i.e., external cloud shots, playing tennis, etc.,) and the complexity of life lived as a disabled person.
The conflict in Jordanne was the inner turmoil the character faced after surviving a traumatic amount of school bullying, her insecurities about her flawed body, and the physical challenges that still plagued her despite her many achievements as a tennis champion. Her struggles, displayed in shots of her walking with a stilted gait, lifting and packing her suitcase into the hood of her car, and playing tennis with her father, seemed to consistently be ever-present despite her many accomplishments. Like Sisyphus, she would always have an uphill battle, due to her disability, and have to live with an existence similar to the woman in Langston Hughes’ poem Life Ain’t No Crystal Stair.
Jimmy On the Run
For Jimmy On the Run bright color was used intermittently to show Jimmy’s world-Amsterdam, his subjects both on the street, in his apartment/studio and in fashion layouts-in graphic black and white stills. I really felt that I got the chance to see how color looked through Jimmy’s eyes as a photographer, making his interpretation of the palette quite interesting.
Where a woman’s tattooed back would looking startling to me, if I saw her, the way he shoots her it becomes painterly instead. When the camera captured Jimmy in close-up and medium-wide shots, as he talked and photographed on the street, the color became deeply saturated and bold. Color affected this film by acting as a liaison between Jimmy’s world and the viewer’s, revealing intensity in the detail of a woman wearing a pink outfit atop a bicycle, and a tattooed man standing in from of a dark background.
The archival footage of Jimmy’s parents, and he as a little boy, were distinctly faded with time and matched the narration about his past perfectly. Despite his ambivalence about leaving his little village in China, and immigrating to the Netherlands at 16, the photos he took of it in color and black and white were stunning and made me believe he honed his talent in his hometown.
In Jimmy On the Run the conflict was Jimmy’s hope that his father would finally accept his choice to be a photographer instead of a co-restauranteur. More practical and traditional than photography, according to his father, it became a poignant statement that sadly lingered at the end of the film.