on Color and Light in There is Only One Sun (2007) by Wong Kar-Wai

There are only certain auteurs who can handle explosions of color and properly wrap them in a fever dream of perceived reality. Three come to mind off the top of my head: Gaspar Noé, Wes Anderson, and Wong Kar-wai. In his 9 minute short: There Is Only One Sun, Kar-wai transports the viewer from the color palette of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey Slit-Scan Sequence and throws them into a surreal world made of warm tungsten, neon green and other 6 inch high-heeled paranormality. To contrast his protagonist from this abstract world, Wong Kar-wai dresses his lead character in a black dress with stockings; devoid of color, obviously sticking out from the world she lives in. Also worn is a pinkish purple dress, with a hue that complements the rest of the film. Wong Kar-wai and his DP Philippe Le Sourd experimented with light leaks in their frames; giving incidental, innocent and completely natural additional boosts in color that celebrate the canvas they chose to paint their picture on. Although the film serves as a simple cannon fodder as a commercial for Philips LCD televisions, Kar-wai doesn’t stop there. His protagonist’s voiceover throws in additional complexity; “Sometimes we need to see things through a screen. On one side of the screen, memories fade. On the other, they glow forever.” I think, Kar-wai’s unabashed nod to his love of cinema and of film-making. Yes, There’s Only One Sun in our solar system, but Wong sees several in his, for there are others that can supply their own color and even more suns that supply their own light. 

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