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by Michael Chasin



Movies, by their nature, are about spectacular visuals—including rich, vibrant colors.

Nevertheless, filming in black & white—can be a powerful storytelling technique.

Black & white is often used to enhance a period piece’s feel of being “of that time.”

The Artist (2011) could not have been made in anything but black & white—as it was a movie-in-movie—circa 1927.

Raging Bull (1980)—set in the 1940s and 1950s and shot in black & white—included mock color home movies—that dramatized the return to the black & white narrative.

The black & white in Ed Wood (1994) mirrored its subject matter’s vibe—1950s schlock filmmaking.

Black & white is also used to give a film a distinctive aesthetic.

Manhattan (1979) was a contemporary piece filmed in black & white that­—along with Gershwin music—gave it a 1940s feel—the way Woody Allen said he remembered Manhattan as a child.

Rumble Fish (1983) was a contemporary youth film that used black & white as a motif—and highlighted hero Motorcycle Boy’s color blindness.

Nebraska (2013) used black & white—as a contemporary piece—to imbue the film with a poetic power in combination with its stark landscapes.

So—should your film be black & white?

You may wish to enhance a period piece—or not.

You may wish—in a world of comic book superhero explosion movies to create a black & white movie—potentially alienating an audience—or not.

The answer is—do what’s truthful—for your story.





IAFT Cebu, Philippines is a film school that delivers an educational experience that reflects Hollywood roots and traditions. Founded in 2004, IAFT Cebu offers Certificate and Diploma programs in film , acting and 3D animation. Located in: One Hollywood Blvd
, Bigfoot I.T. and Media Park, Lapu-lapu City, Cebu, Philippines. Email:, Contact Numbers: Globe/Viber: +63-917-314-3456 Smart: +63-947-991-9659 Phone: +63-32-495-2111