Colored Lighting and the Aura of Hollywood in Damien Chazelle's La La Land

  • Nicole Morello Youngstown State University


Looking at Damien Chazelle’s La La Land (2016), I explore the visual experience of colored lighting that Chazelle prioritizes throughout his film. While these moments of colored lighting may initially appear to simply create mood for aesthetic purposes, I would like to contend that Chazelle is doing more by purposefully choosing to fully saturate certain scenes in order to highlight stark moments of reality that his characters endure throughout both their relationship and their individual artistic pursuits. In doing so, Chazelle creates a dichotomy between the fantastical and often unrealistic elements of Hollywood and the grounding, everyday realities of life. Chazelle’s intentional introduction of color in La La Land, signaling the fantastical aura of Hollywood lore, personifies this sentiment as it proves that the aesthetic use of color is a warning that is doomed to fail because it represents a fantasy, something controlled and unreal.