Date of Award

Spring 3-24-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Jennifer Barker

Abstract

Reggie Hill

The Chromophilic Chromophobe: Transference of Racial Otherness in The Royal Tenebaums

In this essay, I will analyze the role that color plays in the construction of cinematic otherness through close textual analysis of Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. Drawing from studies of phenomenology of whiteness and space, and of the effects of color in cinema, I will examine the relationship between characters, their surroundings, and the colors around them in order to highlight a paradox between the ways in which whiteness becomes normalized in the characters, and how what I’ll refer to as Anderson’s “chromophilic” approach to filmmaking actually negotiates and reinforces racial power dynamics, even though race doesn’t appear (on the surface or narrative level) to be discussed or treated in a meaningful way. By exposing how colors — not just black and white, but also the bright pinks, reds, purples, and blues Anderson’s films are known for — can create a subtle discourse of racial, gender, and sexual politics in film, I hope to show how systemic modes of racism, sexism, and heterosexism depend on invisibility. I will show that even when these social structures are not evident and obvious, they are always being negotiated through other mechanisms such as color design and film style.

Film Studies

Aesthetics

Race

Whiteness

Otherness

Chromphobia

Chromophilia

Wes Anderson

Phenomenology

DOI

https://doi.org/10.57709/6896934

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