All That Heaven Allows

Douglas Sirk
If you go back, for example, to the 1950s, there was a genre of movies called Weepies or women's movies. And the real master is Douglas Sirk. He was a really serious filmmaker in Germany before the war and then he was only able to get work after the war in the United States making what was considered a lesser art form, these Weepies, but you watch them, and the women don't say much, as it was the 50s. Everything that these women were experiencing, had to happen in facial expressions and in the lighting and in the way he's using colors. That was so hugely instructional to me. I recommend anyone who's a painter should watch Douglas Sirk's whole color catalog, if possible. And that's what I like to show students as well—not so much middle schoolers, like I'm teaching now, high school. I just show Douglas Sirk, a scene from maybe All That Heaven Allows, and just break it down. Like, "Let's look at the warm colors. Let's look at the cool colors." If you just look at the scenes for warm colors and cool colors and press mute . . .


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