Shyamalan's use of red and yellow colors in The Village

28 August 2023
M. Night Shyamalan, renowned for his intricate storytelling and thought-provoking visuals, often employs color symbolism as a powerful narrative tool in his films. His deliberate choice of colors enhances the depth of his storytelling, adding layers of meaning that extend beyond the surface. This discussion delves into the profound use of color in Shyamalan's filmography, with a particular focus on "The Village." 

In "The Village," colors such as red, yellow, and blue serve as more than visual elements – they act as profound symbols that guide the audience through the intricacies of fear, hope, unity, and the mysteries of the unknown.

Red as the Bad Color

In "The Village," the color red is consistently associated with danger, fear, and the unknown. The villagers have established a pact with mysterious creatures in the woods, whom they believe will not enter their territory as long as they don't cross the boundary marked by red berries. This boundary represents a psychological barrier between the villagers' controlled environment and the ominous outside world.

Red is used to depict a looming threat and the presence of the unseen creatures. The villagers' perception of red is one of alarm, evoking their collective memory of past trauma. The audience's anticipation of danger heightens whenever red is introduced or discussed. Shyamalan employs this color to create tension, emphasizing the isolation and vulnerability of the characters within their secluded community.

The choice of red as the "bad" color also plays into the broader theme of fear and the unknown. Red serves as a visual representation of the villagers' anxieties and their efforts to shield themselves from the harsh realities of the outside world.

red and yellow color symbolism the village

Yellow Cloaks of the Villagers

Conversely, the yellow cloaks worn by the villagers hold a positive connotation. Yellow is often associated with warmth, optimism, and enlightenment. 

In the context of "The Village," the villagers wear these bright yellow cloaks as a symbol of unity, hope, and a shared mission to protect themselves from the threats lurking beyond the woods.

Yellow serves as a visual representation of the villagers' desire for safety and their commitment to their way of life. It contrasts with the somber tones of the surrounding forest, underscoring the villagers' attempts to create their own idyllic haven in the midst of a dangerous world. The yellow cloaks also reflect the villagers' shared values and aspirations, as they work together to maintain the fragile equilibrium they have built.

What does Ivy's blue dress symbolise?

Ivy's blue dress in "The Village" goes beyond its visual aesthetic to embody profound symbolism. As a hue often associated with tranquility and stability, the blue dress represents Ivy's purity and innocence. Being blind, Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard, Lady in the Water) lacks the capacity for visual judgment, allowing her to form connections without the influence of appearances. The dress encapsulates her role as a beacon of light within the village, highlighting her unique ability to transcend the prejudices and fears that grip the community.

blue dress meaning the village dallas howard
Set against the backdrop of red danger and yellow unity, Ivy's blue dress provides a poignant contrast. While red signifies fear and yellow stands for protection, blue embodies calmness and understanding. 

The dress acts as a reminder of the importance of empathy and genuine human connections, underscoring her role as a bridge between the villagers' sheltered world and the unseen dangers lurking beyond the woods. 

The blue dress also touches on the film's exploration of human nature. Ivy's unique perspective, unburdened by visual prejudices, serves as a commentary on the complexities of human interactions

Ivy's blue dress thus becomes a powerful symbol of hope, innocence, and the possibility of authentic connection amidst a backdrop of fear and isolation.

How Ivy can see color despite her blindness?

Ivy's unique ability to perceive colors despite her blindness introduces an intriguing layer to the narrative. Her extraordinary perception is rooted in her profound emotional connection with those around her. 

Ivy is not bound by the conventional sense of sight, but rather, she "sees" the world through her heart and intuition. Her acute awareness of color stems from her ability to sense the emotional qualities and symbolic meanings attached to different hues. 

For instance, the warmth of the sun might translate to a gentle, golden glow, while the tranquility of the forest might manifest as a calming shade of green. This unconventional form of "seeing" allows Ivy to experience the world in a deeply meaningful and almost spiritual manner, tapping into the emotions and energies that colors evoke in her surroundings.

Lucius, the character portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), is perceived by Ivy through her own unique lens. The color she associates with him is a blend of warmth and tranquility – a shade that can be described as a soft, soothing golden hue. 

This color embodies the essence of Lucius's character as Ivy perceives it – someone who radiates both a gentle presence and a steady, reliable nature. This choice of color not only reflects Ivy's emotional understanding of Lucius but also reinforces the film's overarching themes of connection, purity, and the deeper layers of human perception that extend beyond the physical senses.

What is the symbolism of the chairs in the empty chairs in the village?

The empty chairs in "The Village" hold symbolic significance that ties into the broader themes of the film. These empty chairs represent both loss and the unknown. They serve as a constant reminder of the villagers' desire to shield themselves from the dangers of the outside world. 

The empty chairs are a visible representation of the absence of loved ones who have been lost due to the horrors that exist beyond the village's boundaries. This loss contributes to the villagers' collective fear and motivates their commitment to isolating themselves from the outside world.

Moreover, the empty chairs also symbolize the unspoken fears and uncertainties that come with the unknown. The villagers, having created their own isolated haven, use these empty chairs as a deterrent, a visual reminder of what lies beyond their borders. 

The chairs serve as a physical manifestation of the boundaries the villagers have established to keep themselves safe, emphasizing the psychological barriers they've constructed to maintain their way of life. The unknown dangers represented by those empty chairs perpetuate the villagers' sense of vulnerability and the need to maintain their secluded existence.

In a deeper sense, the empty chairs also represent the human tendency to avoid confronting uncomfortable truths or facing external challenges. By leaving the chairs empty, the villagers avoid acknowledging the larger world with all its complexities. This avoidance reflects a broader theme of escapism and the lengths to which people will go to create their own idealized reality, even if it means sacrificing true understanding and growth.

In summary, the empty chairs in "The Village" symbolize loss, the fear of the unknown, and the villagers' psychological boundaries. They provide insight into the characters' motivations and the broader themes of isolation, fear, and the complexities of human nature.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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