A Matter of Life and Death(1946) - Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Perfectly composed Technicolor glory, romantic in every sense of the word, and seriously strange for 1946. It’s hard to describe this movie, think something like the Wizard of Oz for adults with a little bit of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Like Wizard of Oz, color and black & white are used to indicate two worlds, but a Matter of Life and Death cuts back and forward between the two, constantly throwing the other into stark relief. Powell and Pressburger use Technicolor as well as anyone I can think of, and the surreal colors give the real world a hi-fidelity glamour that you long for whenever you are in the black and white afterlife. There is of course more to a Matter of Life and Death than technical achievement, the story is playful, romantic, existential, and full of humor that I can only assume played much better in the UK than America. There is probably some historical context required to understand the end of the film, but I think as long as you understand that this film was released just after WWII, and at a time when many Britts still regarded us Yanks as boorish thugs you’ll probably be fine.
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