Black-and-white films always bother me. I mean modern films that choose to be in black-and-white. It's a big bold artistic decision that a film has to work hard to escape from. For the first hour I'm not thinking about character or plot, I'm thinking 'is there a good reason for there to be no colour?' Maybe thinking about the colours that aren't there is the point. Watching Control, it's like seeing the world through Ian Curtis' eyes - someone who was, at the very least, a bit moody. According to the filmmakers it 'reflects the atmosphere of Joy Division and the mood of the era'. That's fine, but I'd just like to know if it still works in colour. It's a visual style that creates instant melancholy, it's leaning on the camera a bit too much. It does have advantages that I can't argue with though. A country scene may look bare and lifeless, but monochrome can bring a city environment to life. Everything is more defined, it turns a shot into a photograph. Control is sort of the film that is so heavily composed that you could release it as a photo album.
The indie film In Search of a Midnight Kiss is in black-and-white. Not for wistful melancholy, but to create a sort of ninety minute dream. Somebody told me recently that most people dream in black-and-white. I don't think that's true, but if it is then they would probably look like this film. It's a romantic comedy that wanders though a monochrome city, turning the place into a surreal memory. I'm not sure that's a good enough reason. It's an excellent film, but it would also have been an excellent film in colour. I'm not going to frown at it though, I'm glad that independent filmmakers can do whatever they want. It should have some quizzical applause, whatever that sounds like.
Maybe the problem is that I'm always expecting these films to be burst into colour Pleasantville-style. And they never do.