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This Movie Season, It’s a Black-and-White Boom

“Color is so brilliantly descriptive in film, and even the color of someone’s eyes gives you so much information,” Zambarloukos said. “But I often find that when I’m making films with Ken, we’re trying to remove information for the audience and present them with what we want them to see.”

Their new film, “Belfast,” about a young Irish boy coming of age in the turbulent 1960s, doesn’t eschew color entirely: It’s bookended by two color montages of modern-day Belfast, and whenever our young protagonist, Buddy, goes to the movies, the films he watches come to life in vivid color.

But for the most part, whether Buddy is wooing a girl at school or trying to make sense of the conflict that grips his parents (Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe), “Belfast” is shot in shimmering silvers.

“In this case, I think we’re using a strength of black and white, which is not to tell you how a person or place looks but how they feel,” Zambarloukos said. “It has a transcendental quality to be of the past and the present. It’s realistic, but it has a certain magical sense to it as well.”

Zambarloukos cut his teeth on the format while shooting Branagh’s long-delayed “Death on the Nile” (due in February), which opens with a 10-minute sequence in black and white. But now, after having filmed all those “Belfast” close-ups without color, he admits it will be hard to go back to reds, yellows and blues.

“If I saw the same portrait of a person in color and in black and white, most of the time, I would tell more about that person from black-and-white,” Zambarloukos said. “It doesn’t create anything that isn’t there, but whatever is there is so amplified!”

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