With St. Patrick’s Day frothing across the world (read: Ireland, bits of America and at every shamrock-bedecked Irish pub around the globe), green is the colour of the day, for better or worse.
It’s impressive that the Western imagination has let Ireland effectively trademark the colour so firmly, especially given that there is no official national Irish colour and that another historically consistent choice might in fact be (whisper it) blue. The shade’s association with the United Irishmen (the Wearing of the Green has pretty tough roots) and promotion as part of the Gaelic Revival seems to have laid the groundwork for its eventual cementing into the sequinned, emerald-hued behemoth that is St. Patrick’s Day revelry these days.
All that is to say that by this time, you might well be decidedly weary of the wearing of the green – I can’t imagine the pinching tradition (quite foreign to Ireland) helps much. If your eyes are aching from shamrock shakes and misappropriated Tam O’Shanters, here’s a soothing reminder of the colour’s versatility beyond green beer.
Whether associated with a single character, an arc or a tone, wrapping an actor’s form or suffusing a whole scene, whether used to denote uncanniness and unease, a character’s off-kilter visions or obsessions, or the deep peace of nature, green can be a cinematic powerhouse. For a more in-depth look at colour in film, check out this excellent video essay. In the meantime, feast your eyes on all green has to offer from a selection of visually sumptuous films and series. Fair warning: things get bright!
Deep Aquamarine | Atonement (Dir. Joe Wright, Cinematography Seamus McGarvey) | filmgrab.com
Mint Green | Vertigo (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, cinematography RobertBurks) | filmgrab.com
Mint Green | Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, cinematography Michael Ballhaus, costume design Eiko Ishioka) | screenmusings.org
Mint Green | Stoker (Dir. Park Chan-wook, cinematography Chung Chung-hoon, costumes Kurt Swanson, Bart Mueller) | rebloggy
Cyan Green | Spring Breakers (Dir. Harmony Korine, cinematography Benoit Debie) | filmgrab.com
Turquoise | The Lobster (Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, cinematography Thimos Bakatakis) | filmstage.com
Light Green | Breaking the Waves (Dir. Lars von Trier, cinematography Robby Müller) | filmgrab.com
Bright Green | House of Flying Daggers (Dir. Zhang Yimou, cinematography Zhao Xiaoding, costume design Emi Wada) | filmmeetsfashion.wordpress.com
Bright Green | The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears (Dir. Hélene Catte, Bruno Forzani, cinematography Manuel Dacosse) | filmgrab.com
Bright Green | Utopia (Dir. Marc Munden (series one), cinematography Ole Bratt Birkeland) | gawker.com
Harlequin Green | Natural Born Killers (Dir. Oliver Stone, cinematography Robert Richardson) | filmgrab.com
Lime Green | Utopia (Dir. Marc Munden (series one) cinematography Ole Bratt Birkeland, Lol Crawley) | link magazine
Emerald Green | The Colour of Pomegranates (Dir. Sergei Parajanov, cinematography Suren Shakhbazyan)
Emerald Green | Atonement (Dir. Joe Wright, cinematography Seamus Mcgarvey) | jimandellen.org
Emerald/Golden Green | The Fall (Dir. Tarsem Singh, cinematography Colin Watkinson) | screenmusings.org
Pea Green | The Virgin Suicides (Dir. Sofia Coppola, cinematography Edward Lachman) | filmgrab.com
Deep Pea Green | Macbeth(Dir. Justin Kurzel, cinematography Adam Arkapaw) | filmgrab.com
Moss Green | Stalker (Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, cinematography Alexander Knyazhinsky)
Hunter Green | Bronson (Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn, cinematography Larry Smith) | filmgrab.com
Deep Green | Barry Lyndon (Dir. Stanley Kubrick, cinematography John Alcott) | filmgrab.com