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Motion(less) PicturesThe Cinema of Stasis$
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Justin Remes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169639

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169639.001.0001

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Colored Blindness

Colored Blindness

Derek Jarman’s Blue and the Monochrome Film

(p.111) 5 Colored Blindness
Motion(less) Pictures

Justin Remes

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores monochrome films, in which a single static color dominates the screen for long periods of time. It focuses on the most well-known monochrome film—Derek Jarman's Blue (1993)—a work in which all that is visible is a striking blue color field. Considered as one of the most profound meditations on death in the history of cinema, Blue offers an apparent void, an absence, and a retreat from representation. By employing the color blue, it evokes serenity and contemplation; however, it simultaneously causes impatience and frustration. Whereas most films use movement to captivate the audience, keeping them entirely still, the stasis of Blue inevitably causes restlessness and fidgeting. Since there is no movement on the screen, the spectators' bodies begin to move to compensate.

Keywords:   monochrome films, Derek Jarman, Blue

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