Argentine auteur Matías Piñeiro is a director of graceful and dreamlike urban tales, including Viola (2012), The Princess of France (2014) and Hermia & Helena (2016). His films have screened at numerous international film festivals, including Locarno, the Berlinale, Jeonju, Toronto and the New York Film Festival. He is currently finishing post-production on Isabella, his sixth feature and the latest entry in his “Shakespeareads” series, of contemporary stories inspired by the playwright’s heroines.


“Lately, I have been interested in color. After reading an interview with D.P. Fernando Lockett in which he mentioned that filmmakers were not that aware of their use of color, I felt, having worked for more than ten years with Fernando, the invitation to start a conversation about it. Isabella, the film we are currently finishing, tries to nourish itself from some issues of color. Here I share a list of films that awoke my awareness of color.” M.P.

BLUE, Derek Jarman, 1993

Understanding the screening room as a space where an immersive experience can happen, through the expansion of colored light that emanates from the screen. We are flooded in blue for 80 minutes. It is a unique trance. We come out of the theater transformed, each viewer with a different type of blue inside.

COLOR, Lydia García Millán, 1955

A beautiful experimental film from Uruguay that delves into the hypnotic pleasure of watching color, watching movement, watching paint. Being aware of the difference and relationships between light and pigment. I could keep on watching this four-minute film forever and a day. A film to get lost in.

EL CIELO DEL CENTAURO, Hugo Santiago, 2015

Hugo Santiago was obsessed with the flowers of the jacaranda trees that he remembered from the streets of his dear Buenos Aires. Hugo had shown me an Edward Hopper painting I had seen before without ever noticing its compositional mystery: a monochromatic tendency disrupted by a hint of a new color. There’s a curious red square that makes the chimney on top of the house stand as a key to unlock a private mystery. For the mise-en-scène of what ended up being his last film, Hugo chose the jacaranda’s hue: purple. For my new film, Isabella, I chose purple in his honor.

FLORES, Jorge Jácome, 2017

Hydrangeas are the flowers that tint the shots of this beautiful film. My grandmother was called Hortensia (hydrangeas in Spanish). These are the flowers of my childhood. The film reaches its melancholic note through a floral invasion. It is quite moving and transporting to experience how the room in the theater is filled with their purple. The film explores “fakeism” as an evolution of realism, with color as its main artery. Purple runs through the veins that keep our hearts pumping.

ATLANTICS, Mati Diop, 2019

A ghostly sea, a blurry horizon and a dusty sky all form a vaporous orange on the moving screen. Waves clash at midday. The mix of red and yellow is reminiscent of fire, sand, passion and memories of lost ones. The film immerses us in orange, possesses us through this color, and puts the viewer in a trance of longing for physical love and spiritual connection.

THE WHIP AND THE BODY, Mario Bava, 1963

Color in light, as the artifice that bonds fear and desire and as faces travel through passages of blue, red and green. Bava, who was also a wild cinematographer, plays madly with color interaction to tell a story of ghostly bondage. Color affects our senses and permeates our perception, to blend fantasy with reality and pleasure with pain. The screen drips with color. When the movie finished, I thought I would have colored scars on my body.

DUELLE / NOROÎT / LE PONT DU NORD, Jacques Rivette, 1976 / 1976 / 1981

Color as a disruptive element in narrative cinema. Rivette punctures the fictional tissue of his film with chromatic violence. Color is the key that opens the door between parallel worlds, into the full experience of fantasy. Tinted shots establish a disruptive introduction to a new and unexpected law. Color as a piercing mystery that remains unsolved, but that allows the films to end.