Noirs et Blancs en Couleur (Black and White in Color) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Noirs et Blancs en Couleur (Black and White in Color) Reviews

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½ August 17, 2014
This is a movie extremely rich and ambitious in content; it thematically bursts at the seams. In his directorial debut, Annaud attempts to cover off major categories - war, race relations and religion. I'm not convinced he's been able to adequately hit the mark on all categories, but his use of satire as a device is well done.
Super Reviewer
February 4, 2014
The recently release DVD of this film comes with the documentary The Sky Above, The Mud Below. Both were produced by well-respected Swiss producer Arthur Cohn. This was Jean-Jacques Annaud debut feature film. The soundtrack and camera work are well done. But the main attraction is the absurdly comic actions of the French colonists in Africa during the final years of WWI. The French colonists from one village have been friends with German colonists in a neighboring village. Yet, when they see an old newspaper from their homeland announcing the start of WWI, the always drunk sergeant of the colony, the two missionaries, the two brothers who run the general store with their wives, and a couple other colonists, decide to declare war on their German neighbors. The white colonists treat war like a picnic, though, as they expect the African natives to do the fighting and dying for them. A few of the African servants of the colonists make wisecracks about the absurdity of their white "masters," so the movie is not entirely in the voice of the colonists. After several botched attempts at playing war, Hubert Fresnoy (Spiesser), a young scholar, who is against the fighting at the beginning, takes command of the colony and even marries a native woman. He scandalizes the rest of the colonists, but is much more successful at leading the war efforts until a troop of British colonized Indian soldiers arrive to announce the end of the war. It turns out that Hubert and the leader of the German colony are really very similar, and the importance that the various colonists feel about their positions in this "wild" country is totally blown out of proportion.
½ April 18, 2013
Before Jean-Jacques Annaud made such international large Hollywood epics as "Enemy at the Gates" and "Seven Years in Tibet" he made his debut in the Ivory Coast where he directed the colonial war comedy "Black and White in Color". The film is set during World War I in a french colony in Africa (which one is never mentioned) in the year of 1915, where the colonist have just received the news about a war between France and Germany, which means that the colonies are also in war with each other. So the french colonists has a real problem when their enemies are not far away, with a more experienced black army. And the French also have a hard time convincing the natives to join the fight against the Germans.

Black and White in Color is a great black comedy, because it makes fun of the French patriotism and the early views on war as something great. But on the other hand, the colonist was not so much aware of all the horrors in Europe, and also their soldiers were all Africans. While the Africans were fighting and dying, the colonist was having a picnic in the sun. And in the end it's all just a cricket match between French and Germany, who after the war rejoice that the whole conflict is finally over.

It has that same bourgeoisie feeling as a Luis BuŮuel film. The same discreet charm, the french arrogance and the white superiority. But one of the colonist named Hubert Frensnoy, a young and promising student takes charges and starts to organize an army that can compete with the German troops. He's also a socialist, a small hint of a world in change. A great black comedy that shows us the completely different world view of that time, in such a funny way. Thumbs up.
½ December 18, 2012
The premise of the film is very interesting and at some point Jean-Jacques successfully depicts the ridiculousness of war, but there are many things in the movie that are not necessary. The screenplay is very loose. In spite of this, there are many funny scenes, for instance, the Rhine analogy of the small stream dividing the colonies.
½ June 17, 2012
Having been previously impressed with any Annaud film I've seen this one was very disappointing. I felt it to be tedious and empty.
Super Reviewer
½ June 15, 2012
The War To End All Wars, or World War One, and in colonial Africa the filthy French expatriates (less than European but imminently better than the eager to please native population) belatedly discover that they are at war with Germany, and so the filthy German expatriates (ditto) must be attended to and how. Almost a comedy were it not based in fact. One scene depicts the commotion when a European gentleman with airs meets a likewise endowed native chap. Perhaps the film's a comedy after all.
January 7, 2012
It's amusing throughout, even if the whole thing seems a trifle along the lines of "look at those silly white people."
May 22, 2011
Clever little satire of colonialism and the absurdity of war. Small group of French missionaries and traders living in equatorial Africa learn that World War I has broken out, and decide to raise a native army to attack a nearby German garrison. Planning the attack out as a grand adventure, complete with picnics and parasols, the excursion does rather badly until a serious young scholar takes matters into his own hands. Director Annaud seems to take great delight in cynically skewering inflated French patriotism, bourgeois provincialism and condescending notions of superiority over the local natives, who are portrayed as the only reasonable people taking part in (or more specifically being coerced into) the whole affair.
½ September 4, 2009
A very low profile kind of work.
½ February 22, 2009
the French will never surrender!

½ February 5, 2009
√? trop vouloir caricaturer les personnages, Annaud √©vite de s'approcher vraiment d'eux. Le sujet est grave, mais c'est tellement exag√©r√© qu'on en perd de vue la m√©taphore. Peu de colonisateurs se seront reconnus ici...
½ February 5, 2009
Annaud jette un regard cynique sur la colonisation, la guerre et le patriotisme. Plaisant.
½ November 2, 2008
A nice surprise, this Oscar foreign film winner was very entertaining. Directed by Jean Jacques Annaud (Quest for Fire), it's about a group of French colonist in Africa who find out a couple months late, that WWI has started and the French are fighting the Germans. So they decide to turn the native Africans into soldiers and fight against the neighbor German colonists. A witty and well made film, there are a lot of great moments throughout. I especially loved the scene where they first cross into enemy territory. A nice cast and a great script, this was a fun movie.
October 20, 2008
Comical movie about war and race, great ending.
September 14, 2008
somewhat entertaining, however this comedy did not age well. would certainly not win best foreign language movie oscar with the much higher caliber of international films today
June 10, 2008
A light and humorous take on a very serious subject, it's the sort of movie Chaplin might have made about war. Had Chaplin been, you know, understated in that continental French sort of way.
April 28, 2008
Funny and poignant, Black and White in Color manages to make valid points about colonialism in light of war. This film shows just how comedy can be used for a greater purpose.
½ February 10, 2008
Not sure whether to recommend it. It got off to a slow start and sometimes what should be humorous is simply all too real. Still, by the end it became more interesting and ironic. If you are a fan of French cinema, or you like anti-war films, you might like this one.
January 3, 2008
Brilliant! Amazing movie!
½ October 27, 2007
I really enjoyed watching this. The attitudes about race in 1914 vs.1976 is fascinating. Also interesting is the attitude of the modernist character (and the absurd priests) concerning torture in 2007.
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