Few cinematographers are as devoted to arcs of colour, expressive of narrative themes, as Vittorio Storaro. Storaro is known for his work with Bernardo Bertolucci (The Conformist, The Last Emperor), Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now), Carlos Saura (Tango) and Warren Beatty (Reds, Dick Tracy).
This video essay explores Beatty's 1998 film Bulworth - a political satire - largely using comments made by Storaro in interview with American Cinematographer (for more: theasc.com/magazine/jun98/storaro/pg2.htm). The film itself is not as famous as some of Storaro's works, but one senses his ideas on colour as a means to structure a narrative were perhaps more fully realised here than in any other work, making it an appropriate basis for discussion.
Storaro goes a bit further than most cinematographers in claiming that colours do not merely acquire meaning through association with narrative events, but rather that the colours have inherent associations across cultures. (Eg. Red = rebirth, blue = freedom, green = knowledge, white = completeness.) It is these inherent associations he is tapping into when he puts a red gel on a light as opposed to a green one. Whether one agrees with this idea or not, Bulworth is certainly a thorough argument of the case.
The unusual musical accompaniment is culled from Ennio Morricone's typically offbeat score for the film.
For educational purposes only.