Here’s a list of 7 great black and white films!
I’ve decided to blog about my favourite black and white films because they generally seem to be a lot less popular than coloured ones, a real shame as there are some amazing ones out there!
1. Tokyo Story (1953)
This film tells the story of an elderly couple who travel to Tokyo from the countryside to visit their children and grandchildren, only to be met with indifference as their relatives are too busy to pay them any attention. However, attitudes change swiftly when the grandmother suddenly falls seriously ill.
A heartbreaking film that deals with themes such as relationships between different generations, differences between life in the countryside and the city, growing up, familial relationships, and the ultimate transience of human life. It also offers an accurate and perceptive portrayal of traditional Japanese culture and society.
2. Some Like It Hot (1959)
A comedy starring Marilyn Monroe, this hysterically funny film is about two Chicago musicians Joe and Jerry, who decide to flee from gangsters by pretending to be women and join an all-girl band headed for Florida.
They turn up at the station pretending to be Josephine and Daphne.
3. Jules et Jim (1962)
A love triangle plot par exellence, Truffaut’s masterpiece centres around the relationship between the French Jim, his Austrian friend Jules, and Catherine, the object of both their affections.
The film is set during World War I and takes place in different parts of France, Austria and Germany.
It also has a great soundtrack, which was named as one of the “10 best soundtracks” by Time magazine.
4. The 400 blows (1959)
Truffaut’s first film, and one that defined the French New Wave movement, The 400 Blows follows the antics of two schoolboys in Paris. A story about growing up and friendship that concludes ambiguously.
5. Hiroshima mon amour (1959)
Directed by Alain Resnais with a screenplay by Marguerite Duras, this film is set in Hiroshima just after the Second World War when the city was still recovering from the atomic bomb attacks. It documents a series of conversations between a French woman referred to as She and a Japanese man referred to as He. They often refer to one another by the names of the cities they come from (Nevers and Hiroshima respectively), making it seem as if these two people represent these two different places and their respective cultures.
It is the story of two emotionally wounded people surrounded by a physically wounded city. However, unlike the city that has been destroyed by war, the characters have been wounded by peace: the woman has lost her lover who was a German man who was killed in the war by a man from her own country, and the man has lost his family because of the atomic bombs, although this was the end of the war for his country. The film powerfully portrays how war is an arbitrary decision made between politicians and that it is the innocent civilians who are most affected despite having no choice in the matter.
A connection is established between the two characters, which enables them to rise up from the ashes of the past and reconstruct their life, much like the city of Hiroshima around them. The film ressembles a poem in that it is short and compact but brimming with emotion.
6. Roman Holiday (1953)
A romantic comedy starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, this film depicts a princess who becomes frustrated with her tightly controlled life, and tries to break free from the structure that has been imposed upon her. She unexpectedly falls in love with a news reporter who finds her asleep on a public bench.
The film documents their adventures around The Eternal City, with marvellous shots of the surrounding buildings and metropolitan landscape.
7. The Naked Island (1960)
I have already done a post on this film which you can check out here.