ast fall, Tom Ford made his directorial debut with A Single Man, a film adapted from a Christopher Isherwood novel of the same name. Having followed his career closely over the years, I’ve witnessed him resurrect the Gucci brand, make Halston-inspired fashion popular again in the mid-90s, then break off to form the successful TOM FORD line. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised when I recently watched this film. Every grainy scene is beyond gorgeous. Aside from the stunning mid-century modern fashion and production design (by the same team that designed Mad Men), Ford uses color as an instrument to convey love and loss.
The story is a simple one: A gay professor loses his longtime partner to a car accident, and questioning the meaning of his own life and seemingly bleak future, carefully plans to commit suicide. Over the course of a routine day, he neatly organizes what remains of his life on his desk, buys bullets, gives a class lecture, is propositioned by a handsome prostitute at the liquor store, has dinner with an old friend, and finally, gets entangled with a young, seductive student. In these scenes, Ford unfolds the narrative with color: opening with coldness, expressing moments of love and attraction with saturation, bridging the story with a singular black & white memory, and ending with warmth. Colors subtlely change as you progress through the film, though made much more apparent in the still frames captured above.
(As an aside, Drew wrote a wonderful piece over on Fuel Your Motionography about filters and film stocks that’s chock full of amazing examples. It’s definitely worth a read for any creative that’s interested in film.)