This is one list in which the selections are very much black & white. Legendary film writer BRYN TILLY delivers his verdict on the 12 most magnificent modern monochromatic movies ...
When colour movies first began being produced they were more expensive to process than black and white movies, but several decades later the tables turned, and during the 1970s it was considered an artistic statement (and an increasingly expensive one) to shoot your movie on black and white film. These days, of course, one can shoot digital and decide at a later date whether the movie should be in colour or black and white at no real extra cost.
Here then is a selection (in chronological order) of modern “artistic statements”, movies made post-1970, with almost all of them filmed in black and white, with the exception of a few that are asterisked.
Cinematographer: Frederick Elmes
Cinematographer: Gordon Willis
Raging Bull (1980)
Cinematographer: Michael Chapman
* A short “home movie” sequence was shot in grainy Super-8 colour.
Rumble Fish (1983)
Cinematographer: Stephen H. Burum
* The tropical fish in the aquarium are in colour.
Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
Cinematographer: Kei Fujiwara and Shinya Tsukamoto
Shot in 16mm.
Man Bites Dog (1992)
Cinematographer: Andre Bonzel
Ed Wood (1994)
Cinematographer: Stefan Czapsky
Dead Man (1995)
Cinematographer: Robby Muller
La Haine (1995)
Cinematographer: Pierre Aim
Cinematographer: Matthew Labatique
Sin City (2004)
Cinematographer: Robert Rodriguez
* The director shot the movie digitally in colour against a green screen, and then digitally altered the images into high contrast black and white, with occasional touches of primary colour (red, yellow mostly). The character of Old Yellow Bastard is entirely in a mustard yellow hue.
Cinematographer: Martin Ruhe
* Although director Anton Corbijn is famous for his black and white still photography, due to the movie’s modest budget – and his dislike of the early black and white rushes - he was forced to use colour film and alter in post.