The Yellow Wallpaper (1996, Tony Romain, 16mm, 25 min.) is a film based on the short story by the same name by Charlotte Perkins Gilman that became a classic of feminist literature. The script of the film differs from the original short story in that it intercuts the story of a woman writing the story in the present with the story of the character she is creating in the past. As the film unfolds, the character in the past gradually becomes aware of her “author.” Much has been written about this short story, however, the best place to start is with the short essay “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman herself.
We wanted to create different textures for the present and past segments of the film. This was accomplished through a combination of film stock, lighting, and production design. For the present, we used Kodak’s 7248, a low speed stock which provides contrasty, saturated colors with very fine grain. For the past, we used Kodak’s 7298, providing somewhat less saturated colors, less contrast, and a grainy, more traditional “film” look.
Credits: Written and Directed by Tony Romain, Featuring Rachael Lillis and Michael Slayton, Produced by Margaret Lucas, Director of Photography: David Tamés, Production Designer: Laura Roberts, Sound Designer: Michael Rosenbush. Available for rental (16mm or VHS) or sale (VHS).