Colour palette and costumes

Colour palette and costumes

Colour is a crucial element in terms of the visual aspects of a film as it runs through the whole of it (each take, in between takes, in between sequences), down to the smallest detail. We often think about colour, particularly as far as costumes are concerned, as a secondary element or we consider its function as a mere identification of the characters. Chromatic work, however, conveys emotions and impressions beyond the narrative and the characters’ own feelings.

Characters’ colour palette

Laura Renau, the person in charge of the costume department for all Jonás Trueba’s films, has composed the colour palette of the characters in winter. It’s not a mere matter of building a “utilitarian” document but, rather, a visual, conceptual guide, a truly beautiful piece that accompanies the entire film, to the point of becoming the cover of the DVD/BluRay edition.

Each character is associated to a colour: Manuela - red, Olmo - blue, Clara – green. As in Laura Renau’s composition, the nuances in between the colours are to be found somewhere among the characters’ meetings: violet hues flood the swing sequence, turquoise is present in Olmo and Clara’s house.

The choice of costumes is ruled by this palette as well as by the characters’ traits.

Laura Renau’s texts about characters and colours

Although each character was associated to a colour, the nuances varied according to the season of the year depicted in the film. Summer / youth: lively reds and orange, bright sky blues featured since everything was filmed in full day light. Winter /maturity: colours got darker, more subdued and sober: reds turned burgundy and magenta and blues to navy blue. In the Swing sequence colours (and characters) meld and turn to purple and lilac [Colour palette for swing]


Quite clearly not all filmmakers explore and deal with colour with identical depth or precision. Nevertheless, for those who treat it as an essential aspect, colour acts in a way close to that of painting which develops along time: filmmakers “paint films”.

This would be the case of La reconquista, a film which through costumes, spaces and lighting boasts an extraordinary colour composition endeavour.

The characters

Olmo: calm, classical or inconspicuously dressed, not flamboyant and rather unconcerned about his clothes.

Manuela: lively, a traveller, more daring and outlandish, strong personality. Prints and textures of her outfits clearly inconsonant, not matching.

Clara: balance, calm, serenity. Sober and discreet. Looking for purity and clarity, plain fabrics, flat colours and soft textures.

Film costumes and colours

Even though each character is clearly associated to a colour, they also swap and mix. As it happens in life, and for characters, they meet, change and subtleties. As a young man, Olmo wears red and Manuela’s walls are blue. Burgundy is present in older Olmo’s rucksack and scarf as also the sofa. Olmo is wearing a green pullover with Clara. 

Colour palette and light

In La reconquista, the refined, stylized palette also applies to lighting. Many winter night scenes are painted (lit) according to the characters’ colours and their meeting.

La reconquista: Processus de création