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Follow the Blue Arrows: Looking Closely at
One Part of Amélie’s Spectrum
The color blue is used symbolically in the visual design of Amélie to represent happiness. Watching Amélie to gather info on the visual design of the film lends itself to the realization that to write a paper on the overall visual design of the film would take dozens of viewings and a book worth of analysis. With that in mind, the focus of this analysis is on a repeated visual design theme: the timely, strategic, and meaningful placement of blue lighting and blue objects to augment and represent the themes of the story, specifically, the theme of happiness.
The main set colors in Amélie are green red and yellow. Volumes could be written about the set design, color, and decoration, and how it illustrates each character’s personality, but as stated earlier the focus is the importance of the use of the color blue in the set, the props, character’s clothing, and lighting. Compared to the reds and greens blue is relatively rare, but very easily noticeable throughout the movie. While it is possible that blue objects coincidently appear at important times, and rarely anywhere else, knowing Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s reputation as a highly visual (see The City of Lost Children), fastidious (this was the first movie Jean-Pierre Jeunet shot on location and, due to the lack of control, it will likely be the last), and preparatory (shots, angles, lenses, and camera movements were decided days in advance on storyboards) director, the chance of coincidence becomes slim.
The color blue represents the main characters’ – Amélie and Nico – search for happiness and the things that make them happy. When Amélie sees Nico after spending the night in a photo booth and we see Amélie’s feelings for Nico, there is a large blue backlit poster on the wall behind him. When Nico runs off to chase after his mystery man, Amélie runs after him and the audience see...
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