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The Return of the Epic Film$
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Andrew Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748684021

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684021.001.0001

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Colour in the Epic Film

Colour in the Epic Film

Alexander and Hero

(p.95) Chapter 6 Colour in the Epic Film
The Return of the Epic Film

Robert Burgoyne

Edinburgh University Press

A key feature of the epic genre since the appearance of the tinted and stencilled Italian epics of the 1910s, colour technology and design constitutes a direct line of formal innovation that extends from the earliest iterations of the genre to the exalted colour symphonies of the present. The significance of colour in the epic, however, has largely been ignored. Although chromatic design communicates emotion, cultural value, and technological sophistication, it has to date been discussed in very limited ways – as if the aesthetic language of colour were superfluous or incidental, having little to do with the deeper meanings and pleasures of the form. The chromatic features of the epic film, however, are in fact closely tied to the large thematic questions of the genre – the conflicts between barbarism and civilization, carnality and reason, masculine and feminine. This chapter analyses colour design in Alexander and Hero as a key to each film’s complex negotiation of the central dichotomies of the genre.

Keywords:   colour, epic film, Alexander (film), Hero (film), early epic

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