When I first sat down and thought about colour movies I wanted to strip to black and white, a lot of high drama came to mind. Besides my starting point of CHILDREN OF MEN, I had thoughts of THERE WILL BE BLOOD, WINTER’S BONE, and other such gritty tales.

Then along came Rachel West, and her suggestion that I consider NAPOLEON DYNAMITE.
 

Interesting…

Putting aside the fact that I hadn’t thought twice about NAPOLEON DYNAMITE since October of 2004…sometime around the point it got “Gawsh!’d” into the ground by too many movie quoters…the film itself isn’t the sort of thing I’d thought about from a visual perspective.

Well funny thing there, because for a film that’s already pretty absurd, taking away its colour – as Rachel suggested – makes it all the more absurd.
 

ND7
  See? Already, you think to yourself “some weird shit goes on in that house…”

ND6
  You just know all three of these assholes voted for Trump.

ND5
  Is it just me, or does Kip really suit the black and white aesthetic? Look at the way those aviators catch the light!

ND2
  Okay, here’s where we miss the colour palette. Rex’s dojo has more flags than a Fourth of July parade, but without all that red, white, and blue in the frame, the image actually feels less absurd…not more.

ND4
  Another moment where we miss the colour palette? Any scene involving Deb. She always seems to brighten up the shot…perhaps because she seems like the most honest soul in this whole weird world where everybody is hustling.

Somehow in black and white she seems a bit edgier.

ND3
  Lynchian, no?

ND19
 

ND18
  Very Lynchian.

ND17
  Uncle Rico’s field almost looks like an Ansel Adams photo!

ND15
 

ND16
 

ND11
  Whether it’s in colour or black and white, heartbreak is still heartbreak.

ND27
  Yep…”that’s the one”.

ND26
  …first there was the Ansel Adams moment, now Dorothea Lange! Likewise, this shot in black and white reminds me of what Alexander Payne would do in NEBRASKA.

ND25
  Re-watching this movie for this post, I was reminded of just how ugly it all looks. Every scene is washed-out, high key, and filled with the gross shades of a town time has forgot. Stripping away that grimy colour palette actually makes this story feel like more of an escape.

ND22
  Sorta feels like a scene from A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT.

ND14
  Napoleon’s ginger hair adds a lot to this film’s weirdness and innocence. Stripping that away does take away a certain something.

ND10
  I could see this shot as part of a Talking Heads video. Must be the light suit on Pedro.

ND29
 

ND24
  Trust me – this shot is every bit as weird in colour.

ND13
 

ND30
  I feel like Napoleon just watched a movie by Nacho Vigalondo.

ND21
  High props to Rachel – this was the shot she dropped to black and white to point out how absurd this movie would seem. One glance and I knew she was absolutely right.

ND1
  Last week I mentioned that the caveat to all of this is how the original film isn’t lit for black and white, so my conversions take a certain degree of liberty from the director’s original intent.

With NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, this is especially true since the original captures were so flat tonally. Most of these screen caps come with some tweaking to the curves.

#themoreyouknow

ND9
 

ND28
  Summer’s crew are one of the most mainstream things in this town: the popular girls dressing in the cooler clothes and hanging out with their jock of choice. Strangely, taking the colour out of the shot makes them all seem so strange…like cookie cutter copies of each other, without personalities of their own.

ND23
  Napoleon, meanwhile, remains one of a kind; a distinct silhouette that stands out from a great distance.

ND20
  Very very Lynchian.

ND12
 

ND8
  Such a sweet final shot, no?

 

…and there we have it! Any requests for the next entry?