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Last of the Kodak”: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Struggle With Colour’

Misek, Richard (2007) Last of the Kodak”: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Struggle With Colour’. In: Everett, Wendy, ed. Questions of Colour in Cinema: From Paintbrush to Pixel. New Studies in European Cinema . Peter Lang Publishing Group, pp. 161-168. ISBN 978-3-03911-353-8. (KAR id:38853)


In interviews and writings throughout his career, Andrei Tarkovsky repeatedly returned to the theme of cinematic colour. He referred to it in order to repudiate it: colour film was ‘monstrous’ and ‘false’, an artistic ‘blind alley’. Despite his objections, Tarkovsky also repeatedly struggled with the Soviet bureaucracy to secure the use of Eastman Kodak colour negatives. Having secured the use of colour, he then minimised its impact in his films through a combination of desaturated production design and laboratory techniques, and counterbalanced its presence with repeated transitions between colour and black-and-white sequences. This essay explores the contradictions in Tarkovsky’s response to colour. It roots his work in the stagnation-era political economy of the Soviet Union, before moving on to an exploration of the ways in which his chromatic ambivalence manifested itself in the aesthetics of his films. The essay concludes by suggesting a final contradiction, namely that Tarkovsky’s chromatic conservatism anticipated the colour aesthetics of digital cinema.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: T Technology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Engineering and Digital Arts
Depositing User: Tina Thompson
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2014 11:25 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 12:52 UTC
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Misek, Richard:
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