Outside day, with clouds in the background appears the roll of credits as if it were from a classic movie 1930s or 1940s. Two cars on a dusty road to a guest ranch, North Verde, in Victorville, California. We are in 1940 and from its interior the new tenants come down, among them the screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. The sequence, like the rest of the film, is in black and white.
“Color and black and white are two forms of art totally different. Two completely different ways of looking at an image, “he explained David Fincherin an interview for Cinemanía about his choice to shoot Mank in black and white, and the wide range of grays it offers. The plot centers in Herman’s figure (interpreted by Gary oldman), the older brother of Joseph Leo Mankiewiz director of Naked eva, and his commission to write the script for the film that would mark the debut of a young prodigy named Orson Welles. The one that would end up being Citizen Kane (1941), still considered today as one of the best in history.
Through various flashbacks we will also know his friendship relationship with Marion davis, a second-rate actress, but known for being the lover of the powerful tabloid mogul William Randolph Hearst the man that served as inspiration for the Charles Foster Kane from the Welles movie.
While Herman he was a scathing, rebellious writerAlso an alcoholic and always in debt, trying to stay true to his postulates, Hearst was his nemesis. A character who parked the idealism of youth to give himself, more than to amass money, to the delights of power and mass manipulation.
But Mank, scripted by Jack (David Fincher’s late father) and available on Netflix from December 4, in addition to discussing the writing creation process, it’s a feast for movie lovers, full of references and characters from that golden Hollywood, and with a photograph according to its content to move us to a bygone era already such a singular image texture. It serves as an example that for the two-time Oscar-winning Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron black and white is also the color of memories.
Or at least those of her childhood, in the 70s. Therefore, it was not questioned for a moment that the highly awarded Rome, his most personal film and a tribute to the maid who had raised him since he was a child, would be shot differently. And, although five years earlier he had already obtained the Hollywood statuette for Gravity, he repeated the feat again in 2019.
Mank and Rome They have also helped Netflix increase its prestige among moviegoers by producing, and distributing, two of the best films of the annual harvest to which they belong. And HBO Max will sign up the same, along with Warner Bros, allowing Zack snyder perform your version of Justice League once and for all. A four hour footage in miniseries format that will surely arrive on the platform next March.
The funny thing is that Zack Snyder is a staunch defender of the adventure of DC superheroes black and white would suit him wonderfully. This would be the ideal way, according to the filmmaker, to see it and also in IMAX cinemas. “For me it would be the purest and most beneficial Justice League experience for the fan.”.
And it is that to the iconography and special effects give it a very peculiar and convincing dramatic texture to stories from comics. This was already demonstrated by Robert Rodriguez with Sin City in 2005. But, at the moment, HBO Max does not share the same idea, although depending on the success it obtains in its broadcast it is very likely that one day it will decide to release that other version desired director.
Something that titles like Parasites of Bong joon-ho, the surprise of the last edition of the Oscars, released in color and later in a black and white version as a result of its great reception, reinforcing the concept of timelessness and resulting “more personal” in the words of the filmmaker himself.
George miller was another of those who got away with the adventures of Max Rockatansky and Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road with the so-called Chrome Edition. “The road warrior is much better with grainy black and white photography, it’s like more distilled” He assured also referring to the second installment of 1981.
As well James mangold wanted to redo his experience with the last adventure of the cub of Hugh jackman and its alternative version in Logan noire, enhancing its style and drama. In the same way, Frank Darabont fulfilled its goal by releasing the black and white version of the adaptation of The fog by Stephen King that had previously hit theaters in color.
The 21st century has not turned its back
If we look to the Oscars, the last winner for the best film shot in black and white was the French The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius and also silent, released in 2011. And before her Schindler’s List of Spielberg from 1993.
So far this century, the Hungarian Béla Tarr He directed The Turin Horse and The man from London, the Portuguese Manuel Gomes Taboo, the Colombian Ciro Guerra Embrace of the Serpent or Michael Haneke the winner The white ribbon.
The Coens revisited “film noir” with The man who was never there (2001), George Clooney with Good night and good luck (2005), Stephen Soderbergh with Good german (2006) or the New Yorker Noah Baumbach with Frances Ha (2012) in a list that would still add to a few more prominent titles. Among the most recent, The vampire of Barcelona by Lluis Danés, with most of his photography in black and white and using ingenious theatrical resources in its staging.
Four films also to frame
The lighthouse (2019). Retro look, nod to classic cinema and delving into the claustrophobic nightmare atmosphere in the tale of two lighthouse keepers, Robert Pattinson and Willem dafoe led by Robert Eggers, forced to live together for a long time on an isolated island in New England, at the end of the 19th century, supporting each other and on the brink of insanity.
Cold War (2018). Black and white was also the “color” of memories, melancholy and the most intimate. Tomasz Kot and Joanna kulig They played a musician and his muse in this particular love story. And the polish director Pawel Pawlikowski continued to show that he loves this texture, as he had demonstrated very well in Going five years before.
Nebraska (2013). A state of mind, like the bland characters of the deep America that it portrays. It was the tone chosen by the director Alexander Payne for this emotional, bittersweet journey, to accompany its aged protagonist (Bruce dern) with your child in the last stage of his life and his vanished dreams.
Snow White (2012). The most traditional version of the story of the Grimm brothers, in the Spain of the twenties and between picturesque flamenco dances, tricorns and bullfighting parties. The film of Paul berger, winner of 10 Goya awards (including best film), with Macarena Garcia and one Maribel verdu wearing a black mantilla, it was also a tribute to the great pioneers and masters of classical cinema, from the Von Stroheim of Avarice to Dreyer’s The passion of Joan of Arc.