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Beyond Color: Contemporary Black-and-White Films Unveil

Black-and-white filmmaking, with its timeless elegance, continues to weave its enchanting spell into the contemporary cinematic landscape. While color dominates the industry, a resurgence of directors embraces black and white’s unique allure and narrative possibilities. This watchlist curates a selection of recent monochromatic marvels, celebrating the diversity and creativity of modern cinema. From psychological thrillers to heartfelt dramas, each film unfolds a distinct visual and narrative journey, reminding us that the absence of color can be as powerful as its presence, inviting audiences into a world where shadows and highlights tell stories with a poetic subtlety that color often cannot capture.

The Lighthouse (2019)

Cast: Willem Dafoe as Thomas Wake, Robert Pattinson as Ephraim Winslow

Synopsis: In the late 1800s, grizzled veteran lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake and his young, ambitious colleague, Ephraim Winslow, take charge of their isolated post on a storm-battered island. As they confront isolation, paranoia, and a mysterious light, their shared duties unravel their minds in a brutal struggle for dominance, revealing the haunting secrets of the lighthouse.

Where to Stream: Hulu

Ida (2013)

Cast: Agata Trzebuchowska as Anna, Agata Kulesza as Wanda

Synopsis: Set in 1960s Poland, young Anna, on the verge of becoming a nun, discovers a shocking family secret. With her disillusioned aunt Wanda, a former communist judge, she embarks on a journey to uncover the truth about her parents’ deaths, questioning her faith and identity against the backdrop of post-war political turmoil.

Where to Stream: Netflix, Criterion Channel

Cold War (2018)

Cast: Joanna Kulig as Zula, Tomasz Kot as Wiktor

Synopsis: Against the post-war political backdrop of Poland, musicians Wiktor and Zula embark on a tumultuous love affair. Their journey, filled with undeniable chemistry and artistic brilliance, becomes a reflection of the enduring struggle for individual expression in a divided world.

Where to Stream: Mubi

Roma (2018)

Cast: Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marina de Tavira as Sofia

Synopsis: In 1970s Mexico City, Cleo, a young domestic worker, navigates the complexities of life and class in a wealthy family’s household. As political tensions rise, Cleo’s unwavering resilience offers a poignant commentary on social inequality and the invisible lives of those who serve others.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Cast: Noémie Merlant as Marianne, Adèle Haenel as Héloïse

Synopsis: In 18th-century France, painter Marianne is commissioned to paint a portrait of Héloïse, a reluctant bride-to-be. Under the guise of becoming Héloïse’s companion, Marianne observes her subject secretly, capturing her essence and beauty on canvas. As they spend time together, a deep connection and undeniable attraction blossom between them. However, social constraints and the impending marriage threaten to tear them apart. Their forbidden love story explores themes of desire, identity, and the pursuit of artistic expression in a society where societal expectations rule with subdued intensity and emotional depth.

Where to Stream: Hulu, Criterion Channel

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Barry Keoghan

Synopsis: Renowned surgeon Steven Murphy enjoys a seemingly idyllic life with his wife and two children. However, their perfect world begins to crumble when Martin, a troubled teenage boy with a mysterious connection to Steven’s past, enters their lives. Martin demands a chilling sacrifice from Steven, claiming it will lift a curse that has plagued his family. As Steven grapples with this impossible request, his life spirals out of control, filled with paranoia, guilt, and a growing sense of dread. The film explores themes of grief, retribution, and the consequences of past actions, creating a disturbing and thought-provoking cinematic experience.

Where to Stream: HBO Max

Passing (2021)

Cast: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, Alexander Skarsgård

Synopsis: In 1920s New York City, Irene, a black woman who can pass as white, lives a seemingly carefree and privileged life. However, her world is turned upside down when she encounters Clare, a childhood friend who also possesses the ability to pass. Clare’s arrival forces Irene to confront her own racial identity and the choices she has made. As they navigate the complexities of a society obsessed with racial classifications, they face the constant threat of being exposed and the emotional burdens of living a double life. The film explores the complexities of racial identity, the desire for belonging, and the sacrifices individuals make to conform to societal expectations.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Petite Maman (2021)

Cast: Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, and Nina Meurisse

Synopsis: In the aftermath of her grandmother’s death, eight-year-old Nelly and her mother travel to their childhood beach house to clean it out. While grieving and exploring the surrounding woods, Nelly encounters a mysterious girl who looks eerily familiar. As they spend time together, Nelly discovers that the girl is her mother at a younger age. Their unexpected encounter allows them to forge a unique bond across time as they share stories, dreams, and childhood experiences. Through this magical encounter, Nelly gains a deeper understanding of her mother and her place in the family lineage.

Where to Stream: Mubi

The Souvenir (2019)

Cast: Honor Swinton Byrne, Tom Burke, and Tilda Swinton

Synopsis: Julie, a young and ambitious film student in London, falls head over heels for Anthony, a charismatic and seemingly successful older man. Their passionate relationship intensifies, drawing Julie into a whirlwind of excitement and artistic inspiration. However, Anthony’s charm masks a dark side as he struggles with addiction and emotional instability. As their relationship becomes increasingly toxic, Julie’s pursuit of her filmmaking career gets sidelined, and she faces the difficult choice of staying with Anthony or prioritizing her own dreams and well-being. The film offers a raw and intimate portrayal of a destructive relationship and the challenges of navigating love, ambition, and self-discovery.

Where to Stream: Hulu

The Power of the Dog (2021)

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and Jesse Plemons

Synopsis: In 1920s Montana, Phil and George Burbank, two wealthy brothers who owned a successful cattle ranch, maintained a deeply ingrained relationship built on power dynamics and unspoken tensions. When George unexpectedly marries Rose, a widow with a young son named Peter, Phil immediately dislikes them. He sees them as threats to his way of life and unleashes a campaign of psychological and emotional torment, particularly targeting the sensitive and introverted Peter. The film delves into the themes of masculinity, homophobia, repression, and the devastating impact of toxic relationships on individuals and families.

Where to Stream: Netflix

David Roberts

Writer & Blogger

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  • All Post
  • Art
  • Crafts and DIY
  • Decor
  • Film
  • Music
  • World News
    •   Back
    • News
    • Events
    • Album Reviews
    •   Back
    • Contemporary Art
    • Art History
    • Photography
    • Exhibitions
    • Artists
    •   Back
    • News
    • Events
    • Movie Reviews
    • Watchlist
    •   Back
    • Interior Design
    • Exterior Design
    • Home Tours
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