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Poster Directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger directed a psychological drama film in 1947 called Black Narcissus. The story was based on a novel by Rumor Godden of the same name. The film shows the life of nuns who set up a school and hospital to help the local people, but face tragic consequences caused by their desires. It appears to be that the film clearly shows the competition between the loyalty and sensuality. This shows that the surroundings have deep effects on the women, however the reactions vary. " The lingering spirt of fleshy desire invades the minds of the nuns, clouding their thoughts and causing them to do unpious things" (P, Rodney 2006).
One the strongest aspects of the film is the outdoor scene showing the natural environment that was never filmed in the Himalayas, yet looks real. Alfred Junge employed the matte painting with accuracy and details to keep it convincing and make people deny the production was done at Pinewood Studios. “ The cinematography and set design are impeccable. Technicolor made everything look a little unreal and that's true here as well. I was convinced I was looking at actual Himalayan mountainscapes. Imagine my surprise that everything is either a set or a matte background. It's incredible” (F, Jason 2005). The use of colour plays a very important role in the film, in terms of drawing the viewer's attention and encouraging the emotions such as the sexual feelings and tensions
Still2 On a further research, art director, Alfred Junge used three main colours that reflects the characters' aspect, for instance the nun's white dress which symbolises purity. Moreover the use of the red colour which is meant to be provocative, portray sexual tension and attraction. The red lipstick and the red dress that sister Ruth was wearing is a good example to show the viewer the dramatic change of the nuns' deviation because of its contrast with the pure white. “The filmmakers use red for all its various connotations: passion, heat, life.” ( Rich, J 2010). The combination of the spiritual and sexual sides makes the film very powerful and meaningful as well as enjoyable in terms of its visual aspects.
Illustrations: Poster: http://silverferox.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/black-narcissus-michaelpowell-emeric.html Still1: http://thefilmemporium.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/classic-throwbackblack-narcissus.html Still2: http://glamourdaze.com/2012/09/1940s-makeup-the-famous-lipstickscene-in-black-narcissus.html Bibliography: Perkins, R (2010) Available at: http://twitchfilm.com; http://twitchfilm.com/2010/07/black-narcissus-blu-ray-review.html [Accessed online on 09/12/2012]. S. Rich, J (2010) Available at: http://www.criterionconfessions.com; http://www.criterionconfessions.com/2010/07/black-narcissus-93.html [ Accessed online on 09/12/2012]. Jason, F (2005) Available at: http://www.imdb.com; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039192/reviews?start=70 [Accessed online on 09/12/2012].