Wes Anderson Likes the Color Red (and Yellow)

Red seems to be a magnet for angry bulls and great directors. After all, it’s the color that seems to stand out more than any other. Yasujiro Ozu, for one, made the jump to color movies very reluctantly late in his career and promptly became obsessed with the color red. His production team kept a box on set of small red household things – a matchbox, an umbrella, a teakettle – which he used to place in the background of just about every shot. Jean-Luc Godard famously bathed Brigitte Bardot’s backside in red light for his first color film Contempt. When critics complained that his feature, Pierrot le Fou, was too bloody, he quipped, “It’s not blood, it’s red.” And from HAL 9000’s unforgiving electronic eye in 2001 to the buckets of blood pouring out of the elevator from hell in The Shining, Stanley Kubrick built some of his most memorable scenes around the color red.

Editor and designer Rishi Kaneria, who seems to be making a career out of pointing out the color choices of auteurs, has just released a video called “Red & Yellow: A Wes Anderson Supercut” that squarely places Wes Anderson among the ranks of cinema’s great crimson-loving stylists – from Ben Stiller’s sweats in The Royal Tenenbaums to the luxurious carpets of his latest effort The Grand Budapest Hotel. As you might gather from the title of Kaneria’s short, Anderson is also a fan of the color yellow too. You can watch the video above. And you can watch Kaneria’s look into Kubrick’s use of red below.

Related Content:

What’s the Big Deal About Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel? Matt Zoller Seitz’s Video Essay Explains

The Perfect Symmetry of Wes Anderson’s Movies

A Glimpse Into How Wes Anderson Creatively Remixes/Recycles Scenes in His Different Films

Watch Wes Anderson’s Charming New Short Film, Castello Cavalcanti, Starring Jason Schwartzman

Wes Anderson’s First Short Film: The Black-and-White, Jazz-Scored Bottle Rocket (1992)

Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring lots of pictures of badgers and even more pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

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  • Jeff Gee says:

    Not that it makes the slightest difference to your point, but Contempt is Godard’s SECOND film in color. The first is Une femme est une femme. But there’s plenty of red stuff in that, too.

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