How the colors were used in the movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson, the director of the movie Skillfully used color techniques to lay the romantic emotion of the old European era. His choices if color different plots determine the tone of the story in different space and time. Especially, the rich use of enriched colors brings to the audience not only the visual impact, but also the certain cultural attributes. The films that directed by Wes Anderson have never focused on the formal aesthetics of the surface,  but have used these very representative aesthetics elements to set the mood of a certain scene and the role in a specific context. The meaning of the color in the Grand Budapest Hotel is constantly changing as the story progresses.

At the start, we can feel the use of pink and white always show the stability and security of the hotel environment. It’s also meant that the old European romantic mood remained before the World War II. In the beginning of the film, what we can see is a big hotel with Gothic architecture, standing on a huge snowy mountain. Guests need to take the snow mountain cable car before getting the front door of the hotel. The main colors of the hotel walls are pink and white, which are solemn and warm. In other words, the color scheme tells us that in the environment of that era, the restaurant was stable and safe.

In the middle of the film, the addition of cool tones means that danger is constantly coming. When the lawyer was chased by the killer, the green and gray in the picture gave the audience the feelings of cold and shudder. The color of cold tones shows that the murder would occur in such a hue. The combination of the color and the plot is harmonious and unified, which creates a tense atmosphere of danger.

Finally, the black-and-white tone at the end of the film means that the human spirit gradually died out during the war years. In the ending, the color changes instantly, from bright to gloomy dark tones, which shows a strong melancholy and sadness. The former pink sweetness and brightness are in a sharp contrast compared to the dark depression and sadness, which suddenly drag the audience into the civilization flame and the vanishing of human brilliance without any omen. As the only plot fragment in the whole film that uses black and white, sadness has always permeated. The black and white here not only means death, but also the demise of the times and noble temperament represented by the hotel manager, that is, the human spirit.

The meaning of color is constantly changing as the story develops in the Grand Budapest Hotel. The colors echo the structure of the film story. While arousing the emotional resonance of the audience, the color choices of each chapter were integrated with the narrative and overall style of the movie. Color is an important artistic expression language of the film, which shows a comedy with rich color and humor ends with sadness of the war years. But all the appearances of color changing always magically bring a kind of tenderness and warmness of human spirit.

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