'Brooklyn:' Considering the Color and Cinematic Tone

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Trevor Hogg spoke to director John Crowley about his new film, Brooklyn, about an Irish immigrant who comes to that borough in 1952. The script, written by Nick Hornby based on Colm Tóibín’s 2009 novel, looks at the young Ellis Lacey (Saoirse Ronanand) her sometimes difficult adjustment to her new enviornment. Shot by Yves Bélanger (Dallas Buyers Club), the film makes extensive use of color to frame the story.

On the color palette, the director says, "'Visually the movie is divided into three movements. The first movement would be before Eilis leaves Ireland. The frames are tight, there are no wide shots, it’s all about her face. We are dealing with post-war Ireland. The colors that we were looking at came a lot from photographic reference of the time. We tried not to have it too brown or dull, because it can become very muddy, so we leaned more on greens. When she gets on the boat we have the first proper wide shot. As Eilis expands her horizons so does the horizon of the film. We get to be more playful with the colors. America in 1952 was on the cusp of pop culture kicking off. The Ireland Eilis sees in the last movement isn’t the one she left. It’s brighter and subtly more colorful. It’s partly because she has changed and looks very different. There’s a sprinkle of glamour to her. We tried to reflect that in the film as well and leave it loose with some of the frames. Yet there is a slight dreamy quality to that last third.'"