The abundance of black-and-white films is perhaps this year’s most obvious Hollywood trend, with major awards contenders “Belfast
,” “The Tragedy of Macbeth
,” “C’mon C’mon
,” and “Passing
” all choosing to drain their worlds of color. Even filmmakers working in a full palette feel the need to engage with monochrome, whether through selected scenes (“The French Dispatch
” and “Being the Ricardos
”) or special releases of black and white versions like “Nightmare Alley: Vision and Darkness and Light,” which is giving the Searchlight film a second life.
In the digital age, the transition between the color and monochrome seems like a flick of a switch, one viewers can imitate on televisions and monitors or with a social media filter. But black-and-white cinematography is not just color desaturated. It’s an art of light, shadow, lines, and shapes. Color cinematography is about, well…. color.
On Guillermo Del Toro
’s “Nightmare Alley
,” whose monochrome theatrical run began last weekend,