UDK 94(47).084



“A thematically figurative interpretation rushed into gamma”. The dichotomy of color and monochrome in national cinema


Chirkova N. V.



Without color as one of the key concepts of culture, it is impossible to imagine art, in particular, cinema. The expression of the author’s idea has always led to the introduction of various innovative techniques and methods, contributed to various experiments in the field of cinema. In order to solve artistic problems in the production of motion pictures, Soviet film directors periodically used monochrome and color images simultaneously. The first experiments in the context of the “figurative interpretation” of the director’s plan were implemented by S. M. Eisenstein (in the films “Battleship Potemkin” and “Ivan the Terrible”). Subsequently, the technique of monochrome and color dichotomy was used in almost all genres of Russian cinematography: comedy, military-patriotic cinema, science fiction, detective, etc. By means of the contrast of color and black-and-white shades, outstanding films were created, filled with deep semantic meaning and important symbolism. The solution of artistic tasks through the implementation of the principle of dichotomy is clearly traced when contrasting the real world and the world of illusion (“Man from Nowhere” by Eldar Ryazanov), peacetime and the period of war (“And the Dawns are Quiet Here...” by Stanislav Rostotsky), the state of love and its loss (“Romance of Lovers” by Andrey Konchalovsky). The embodiment of the principle of the dichotomy of monochrome and color led the filmmakers to focus on the problems of historicity and artistic fiction (“Liberation” by Yuri Ozerov), the search for the meaning of life (“Solaris” and “Stalker” by Andrey Tarkovsky), the appeal to eternal values (“The Master and Margarita” by Vladimir Bortko).


Keywords: color, cinema, feature film, Soviet screen, color dichotomy, film director


For citation: Chirkova NV. “A thematically figurative interpretation rushed into gamma”. The dichotomy of color and monochrome in national cinema. Center and Periphery. 2023;18(2):83—89. EDN FEUVVF




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Information about the author:

Natalia V. Chirkova, Associate Professor of Department of Cultural Studies, Museology and Art History of the Samara State Institute of Culture (167 Frunze Str., Samara 443010, Russia), Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9579-9470, nat.chirk@mail.ru


Conflict of interests: the author declares no conflict of interests.


The author has read and approved the final version of the manuscript.


The article was submitted 09.01.2023; approved after reviewing 27.02.2023; accepted for publication 07.03.2023.